Around 100 government representatives, officials from international organizations, EU bodies, and private businesses came together for a symposium on “Public-Private Cooperation in the Fight against Corruption” on 5 June.
This event took place in Luxembourg, organized by the country’s Minister of Justice, H.E. Octavie Modert, Luxembourg’s Chamber of Commerce, the Enterprise Europe Network, and IACA. The symposium opened with a thematic session on the relationship between integrity and competitiveness, addressing topics such as special concerns of small and medium sized enterprises in the fight against corruption, corruption as a risk to competitiveness, and collective action in anti-corruption. The speakers included Nicholas Davis, Director and Head of Europe and Constituents at the World Economic Forum; Birgit Forstnig-Errath, Director of Collective Action at Siemens AG; Christophe Jung, Compliance Programme Officer at ArcelorMittal; and Gérard Zolt, Luxembourg Country Practice Leader, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, Ernst & Young;
The results of Luxembourg’s first national survey measuring the level of awareness of the country’s private sector in the fight against corruption were presented. What is interesting, of the 200 respondents, two-thirds indicated that they have a policy against corruption in their business, half believe that corruption is a problem in the EU, while a third lost a contract because of the fraudulent behavior of their competitors. During the discussion it was concluded that to ensure an effective, feasible fight against corruption, business leaders must place it as a strategic priority in the development international activities. Moreover, it was also noted that public authorities and professional organizations are asked to assist and support SMEs in their efforts to prevent corruption.
In the second session, the focus was on the rule of law and deregulation of anti-corruption – what the government can do and what the role of the private sector should be. Giovanni Kessler, Director General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF); Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary of IACA; Roderick Macauley, Criminal Law Advisor at the UK Ministry of Justice; and Marin Mrčela, President of the Council of Europe’s GRECO, reflected on the current situation concerning the development of initiatives of national and European authorities in the fight against corruption. Efforts taken by the Council of Europe, the UK Bribery Act, and the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor were among the topics discussed.
The symposium concluded with a high level segment with Pierre Gramegna, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce; Martin Kreutner; and H.E. Octavie Modert, where the results of the two sessions were presented. Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission, intervened via video message. She stressed that during this time of economic crisis, the EU and its Member States must take action at all levels to fight against corruption, with strong laws and dissuasive sanctions.
This event witnessed the participation of a number of ministers, including H.E. Tomáš Borec, the Minister of Justice of Slovakia; H.E. Beatrix Karl, the Minister of Justice of Austria; and H.E. Gordan Markotić, the Assistant Minister of Justice of Croatia.