Transparency International: Belgrade one of the least transparent capital cities in Europe

Belgrade is among the most non-transparent capitals in Europe, the results of a survey conducted by Transparency International’s global network in 26 capitals of states and territories in Europe have shown – Transparency Serbia (TS) has revealed.

The capital cities were tested based on 14 indicators, including the access to information about the decision-making process, spending funds, public procurement and ethic rules.

The researchers checked the official websites of city governments for data and documents for 12 of the indicators, while the remaining two they demanded based on free access to information of public importance.

Since the study is a pilot project, with a relatively small number of indicators, the cities are not ranked but put into three categories: green, which includes the capitals that have scored at least 75% of the maximum number of points, yellow for those with 50-75% score and red for those that scored less than a half of the total number of points.

Besides Belgrade, other cities in the red zone are Sarajevo, Athens, Stockholm, Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, and Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Serbia’s capital has only three positive indicators – its website offers data on public calls and agreements on public procurement, as well as budget information.

Belgrade scored zero in the remaining 12 indicators because the relevant information was not shown on the City of Belgrade’s official website.

Transparency Srbija says that the Belgrade authorities were uncooperative as they did not respond to Transparency’s request for the information of public interest.

Serbia’s capital scored zero because its official website does not offer a report on budget spending, minutes from the City Assembly meetings, the contacts for councillors, ethic code for officials, the agreements regarding the City signs, the results of voting at the Assembly sessions, the Mayor’s schedule, the report on his assets and the report on lobbying.

The situation has slightly improved since the data about officials’ assets are published by the Anti-Corruption Agency and since the Law on Lobbying came into force.

However, the city’s authorities did not answer to the request for information about a total income (salaries and other) paid to the Mayor and councillors in 2017, nor did they show the agreements which the City’s authorities had with mobile phones and Internet providers.

The study also said Belgrade did poorly at the overall 2019 Transparency Index for local authorities (LTI) covering 95 transparency indicators of all municipalities and towns in Serbia.

In Serbia, among 145 local communities, Belgrade is ranked 18th with the index 30 (on the scale from 0 to 100), four points worse than two years ago and six points down relative to 2015.

(Danas, 26.08.2019)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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