Fighting Corruption in Public Procurement: The Case of Romania
in Gabriella M. Racca - Christopher R. Yukins (eds), Integrity and Efficiency in Sustainable Public Contracts. Balancing Corruption Concerns in Public Procurement Internationally”, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2014
22 Pages Posted: 18 May 2015
Date Written: May 12, 2015
The chapter discusses corruption in public procurement in Romania, one of the newer member states of the EU, which faces significant challenges in this area. While corruption in public procurement is not a problem faced only by transition countries, the scope of the phenomenon and the implications for the absorption of the EU Structural Funds is tremendous. The chapter has the following structure: Section one focuses first on corruption as a systemic societal problem in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and highlights the characteristics of this endemic phenomenon in order to better assess the context against which certain anti-corruption strategies are implemented. It then focuses on describing corruption in the field of public procurement in Romania, indicating specific risks for our country. Section two focuses on a specific instance of corruption in public procurement in Romania, namely conflicts of interest. We decided to focus on it because it is among the most common and widespread problem identified in different studies. The section offers a detailed analysis of the legal and institutional framework in place regarding conflicts of interest and focuses on a newly created policy that it is hoped will limit conflicts of interest, especially in public procurement that is financed from the EU Structural Funds. Section three analyzes transparency as a strategy for reducing corruption in public procurement and focuses on the role played by SEAP, the Romanian Electronic System for Public Procurement. It then explains how a recent policy of the government concerning open data could enhance transparency in public procurement by providing more systematic and user-friendly data. The chapter ends with conclusions which emphasize that governments have a variety of tools at their disposal to promote integrity in public procurement. In the case of Romania most problems are not due to the legislative and institutional framework but rather to implementation; thus, policy solutions regarding fight against corruption need to be designed with this concern in mind.
Keywords: corruption, Romania, public procurement, conflict of interests, transparency
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