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TOWARDS ENHANCED NORDIC- BALTIC COOPERATION IN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT TRANSPARENCY

On February 10, 2022, TI Latvia, together with Estonian partner Transparency International Estonia and Swedish partner Open Knowledge Sweden organized the event “Towards enhanced Nordic-Baltic cooperation in public procurement transparency”. The event was organized as part of the Nordic Council of Ministers project “Harnessing Digital Tools to Tackle Corruption in the Nordic–Baltic Region”.

The problems in this situation are justified and affect everyone. It is important to take into account the experience of different countries and the level of awareness of the problem.

A 2019 report from the European Court of Auditors found that Latvia is one of the 5 countries with the highest proportion of uncovered fraud cases related to EU funds.

Despite the fact that the process in Estonia is generally transparent (high levels of e-tendering). Nevertheless corruption risk in procurement is still evident – in 2020, 7 of the 81 registered corruption and economic crimes were connected to the violation of procurement rules.

In Sweden, public procurement was estimated to be worth 75 billion euro in 2018 (statistics from Konkurrensverket). Representing almost 20% of GDP (annual GDP 2020 – €475,432M). Even Sweden is a top performer in international indices on good governance, corruption in public procurement has remained an area of concern over the years.

TI Latvia invited partners and supporters of the project from Latvia, Estonia and Sweden, including representatives of the state institutions, including procurement and data specialists, representatives of the Ministries of Finance and Justice and related institutions. The main aim of the event was:

  • To discuss current challenges in public contracting data disclosure policies in Latvia, Estonia, and Sweden, as well as potential solutions through Nordic-Baltic cooperation;
  • Showcase existing civil society efforts to increase transparency and accountability of public contracting through data-driven digital tools;
  • Present project proposal for development of Opener and Open Up.

 

TI Latvia also presented recommendations how to improve the situation:

  • In the case of Sweden specifically – ensuring that procurement data related to public tenders is being published.
  • Achieving higher quality and interoperability of public procurement related data by adopting open by default as an overall guiding principle as well as implementing international standards for its collection and publication.
  • Improving regulations on datasets complimentary to public procurement related data in the area of political integrity by adopting and improving upon best-practice solutions from other countries in the region.
  • Using the full potential of the OGP Platform for innovation. As the Platform has already proven to be a key driver for change it is important that adequate resources to its implementation process at the national and regional level are allocated.
  • Likewise, institutions charged with monitoring procurement as well as complimentary data should receive the resources and discretion to utilise the data in an effective way in carrying out their duties.

 

After the event, TI Latvia and the project partners evaluated the possibilities of further cooperation and at least partial implementation of the project’s idea. Thanks to the event, TI Latvia strengthened and developed successful cooperation at the national level with public procurement supervisory authorities.

 

This project is funded by the Nordic Council of Minister Office in Latvia. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the coordinator of the project and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

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