The Regional Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations signed today

Secretariat of the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, initiated and coordinated the signing of the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations, which was signed today in Belgrade.

Republic of Serbia, Republic of North Macedonia and Montenegro are the first signatories of the Treaty that was prepared and negotiated among the SEE jurisdictions with the support of the Austrian Development Cooperation.

On this occasion, Mr. Vladan Joksimovic, expressed belief that today’s ceremony marks the beginning of a new and immediate form of intergovernmental co-operation between the signatory states in ensuring transparency and strengthening the integrity of holders of public positions.

“By signing this agreement, delegations from Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia and Republic of Serbia have once again demonstrated the essential commitment of their states in the fight against corruption and in strengthening cooperation in the region.” Mr. Joksimovic said.

Minister of Justice of Republic of Serbia, Ms. Maja Popovic, Minister of Justice, Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro, Mr. Vladimir Leposavic and President of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption of the Republic of North Macedonia, Ms. Biljana Ivanovska signed the International treaty on exchange of data for verification of asset declarations. It is the first treaty of this kind signed in the region.

“The fight against corruption and organized crime is one of the priorities in the work of the Government of the Republic of Serbia”, said Minister Popovic, noting that the Ministry of Justice is actively involved in this in accordance with its competencies:  “The Republic of Serbia is fully committed to the EU integration process, and is aware of the need for substantial reform processes in the areas of justice and fundamental rights, including fighting corruption.”

Representative of Republic of North Macedonia, President of Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, Ms. Biljana Ivanovska said that the signing of this international agreement opens up new opportunities for verification of data on assets and interest of the public officials, outside their home state, adding that this is the first step towards discovering illegally acquired property that is transferred or purchased abroad.

On this occasion, Minister of Justice, Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro, Mr. Vladimir Leposavic said: “The international Treaty on exchange of data for verification of asset declarations aims to contribute to the prevention of corruption through direct administrative exchange of data relating to declared assets between the signatories. It is a fact that persons often transfer assets to another country, aiming to avoid the law in their home country. Therefore it is especially important to develop mechanisms for improving the exchange of data that may imply such illegal activities.”

The signing ceremony was attended by the attaché of the Austrian Embassy in Serbia, Mr. Georg Stawa. “We sincerely hope this step taken will be an incentive for the other countries of the region to join the International Treaty as soon as possible.”, said Mr. Stawa adding that the Austrian Development Cooperation as a small donor has proven in the past to use its mandate and long-lasting experience to work directly with important and forward looking initiatives in the region.