RAI Secretariat in partnership with EYP Albania delivers Anti-corruption Forum

Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI) Secretariat in partnership with the European Youth Parliament (EYP) in Albania organized and supported the Anti-Corruption Forum that gathered close to 50 youth participants, including EYP Delegates from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

This three-day event was organized in Tirana as part of the official program of the Week of Integrity in Albania, that stands as a national awareness-raising campaign where collective action is anticipated as a leverage to draw attention on the importance of integrity and to promote ethical behavior not only in business, but also in the governmental bodies, academia and NGOs.

After the opening ceremony held on Tuesday, December 7th, and remarks delivered by the EU Delegation to Albania representative Alexis Hupin, EYP representative Daniel Buna and RAI Secretariat’s Senior Anti-corruption Advisor, Aneta Arnaudovska, the first Expert Talk on whistleblower protection was delivered by RAI Secretariat’s Anti-corruption Expert Elmerina Ahmetaj Hrelja. This session examined the alignment of Albania’s legislation with the EU Directive on Whistleblower Protection:

‘The Whistleblower Protection Law of Albania is in partial compliance with the EU Directive on Whistleblower Protection. The Law applies to both public and private sector corruption, provides a broad statement of whistleblower rights, guarantee of whistleblower confidentiality, protection from all forms of harassment, sanctions for retaliation against whistleblowers, designated reporting persons and government institutions for whistleblower reporting and protections. However, there is room for improvement“, said RAI’s Ahmetaj Hrelja.

Most significantly, if the reported wrongdoing remains unaddressed by internal or external authorities or there is an imminent or manifest danger to the public interest, the whistleblower should be able to disclose the breach publicly, i.e. to media, CSOs, trade unions, elected officials, professional and business organizations, without losing the right to protection, she added.

Expert Talk on Judicial Integrity was delivered by RAI’s Senior Anti-corruption Advisor Aneta Arnaudovska on Wednesday, December 8th.

The integrity crises and the law level of trust in the judiciary should be solved by development of an integrity management system as a holistic approach of sectoral anti-corruption mechanisms and mitigating measures”, stressed Arnaudovska and added that the critical element in any corruption risk reduction program is the commitment by the judicial leadership.

The final day of the Anti-Corruption Forum took place on December 9, the International Anti-Corruption Day in the City Hall of Tirana. The EYP delegates considered the motions prepared by their committees, and consequently adopted the resolutions that include conclusions and recommendations on strengthening the judicial Integrity and whistleblower protection in Western Balkans countries.

The EYP resolutions call upon EU Member States to create a secure software system available to all citizens, offering them the opportunity to anonymously report potential corruption cases, and invite Ministries of Education of Western Balkan Countries to integrate anti-corruption educational modules into school curricula. The EYP Encourages the EU and Member States to

hold yearly summits for the analysis and tackling challenges to the disparate implementation of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. The resolutions also suggest that EU should support the strengthening of judicial integrity in the Western Balkans by providing assistance to implement merit-based employment methods, including adapting hiring criteria and employees’ examination in compliance with EU standards. The delegates urged Denmark and Finland, as positive examples of low corruption rates, to propose monitoring plan to help Balkan countries fight corruption in its administrative organs.

The closing ceremony was addressed by Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj, RAI Secretariat’s Senior Anti-corruption Advisor Aneta Arnaudovska, and EYP representatives Juna Hoxha and Amar Rahic.

During the visit to Tirana, Albania, the RAI Secretariat delegation held a series of meetings with partners and representatives of institutions and civil society organizations, including the Ministry of Justice, the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflicts of Interest (HIDAACI), the International Chamber of Commerce in Albania, the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), and Civic Resistance.