TIS Wants to Raise Generation of Civil Servants Resistant to Corruption

Zuzana Hlavkova (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 28 (TASR) – A professional state administration resistant to corruption won’t be created by constantly inciting fear among the people who point out acts of corruption in the state institutions, stated representatives from Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) at a press conference in Bratislava on Tuesday.

The press conference was devoted to the presentation of TIS’s new campaign entitled Forming a State Administration Resistant to Corruption aimed at the youngest generation of civil servants.

The TIS representatives are convinced that protecting whistleblowers effectively and educating the young generation of civil officers to stand against any corruption attempts could help to create a professional and more effective state administration.

According to Pavol Szalai of TIS, this focus on the young generation stems from the fact that young people have the greatest potential to achieve changes from inside in the state administration. It is estimated that some 17 percent of people under 34 years of age are currently working in the state institutions.

Szalai further stated that TIS wants to change the status quo, which is affected by the fact that the adopted legislative anti-corruption measures aren’t reflected in practice. “First, it’s necessary to increase the ability of civil officials to recognise malpractice. Further, we must raise awareness of the rights of whistleblowers and also combat the fear of negative consequences stemming from reporting corruption,” said Szalai.

TIS therefore wants to organise informal education training and workshops for young civil servants to this effect. It also wants to urge the state institutions themselves to discuss the issue of corruption to a greater extent.

Zuzana Hlavkova of TIS, who was also present at the press conference, described the key steps for effectively helping whistleblowers. “We’re interested in creating a network of employers and experts in human resources who’ll help whistleblowers to find a new job if they lose the previous one due to reporting corruption. We also want to create a network of law firms that will represent whistleblowers pro bono in judicial proceedings,” said Hlavkova.

[Both Hlavkova and Szalai are whistleblowers themselves, who lately drew attention to malpractice at the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry in reference to shady contracts being made for cultural events connected to Slovakia’s Presidency of the EU Council. Both are now working for TIS. – ed. note]