Round Table in view of establishing the Task Force Groups of the
National Business Anti-Corruption Ombudsman Platform
~ Senate of Romania, Bucharest – 28 September 2017 ~
In the presence and with the kind support of the most important international, EU and Romanian institutions/organisations, at the headquarters of the Senate of Romania, on the 28th of September 2017, it took place the Round Table aimed to establish the National Business Anti-Corruption Ombudsman Platform, the further functioning of its Task Force Groups and the Action Plan for the next period, until the month of May 2018.
This event was a continuation of the European Conference ”Improving Anti-Corruption Policies and Practices” (25-27 May 2017), organised by EUROLINK-House of Europe Foundation with the kind support of the Vicepresident of the Senate of Romania, MP Mihai GOTIU, in co-operation with the European Network for Education and Training (EUNET) and co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union and in partnership with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, and also thanks to the moral and theoretical guidance offered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Besides the initiating non-governmental organisations – EUROLINK-House of Europe Foundation, the International Honorary Chair “Jean Bart” in favor of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (CIO-SUERD) and Freedom House Foundation – Romania, a large and representative range of chambers of commerce, professional associations and other relevant NGOs in the area of CSR, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption fields, was present – in view of supporting and better contributing to the success of this EBRD-OECD concept -, such as: Foreign Investors Council; AmCham; the Economic and Commercial Department of the German Embassy in Romania; the Bilateral Chambers of Commerce Romania-Turkey and Bulgaria-Romania; research institutes of the Romanian Academy; KPMG; EY; Oracle; Romanian Business Leaders; the Association of Hungarian Economists; Centre for Advanced Research in Management and Applied Ethics; CSRmedia; Romania 100 Platform; the Romanian Accreditation Association – RENAR and so on.
The main vocation of the Business Ombudsman is to investigate complaints from the public about mal-administration in government. The reason to make appeal to such mechanism specifically refers to the situations when the business representatives have an unresolved problem with the State or local public authorities, state-own/controlled companies or officials.
At the current stage, the newly emerged Consultative Council of the National Business Anti-Corruption Ombudsman in Romania will operate on a self-financing basis and as a testing period within the partnership between civil society organisations, chamber of commerce or professional association motivated to join the project initiators. Only, later on, this semi-formal framework of deploying the Ombudsman activities should converge in a more official structure when the financial and logistic supporting resources will be available at external and internal levels for Romania, especially taking into account the common EBRD-OECD Program.
The Board of the Consultative Council includes four categories of membership: Honorary Members, Sponsoring Corporate Members, Active Members and Observer Members on the behalf of the judicial system and of the other concerned ministries and governmental agencies or public entities.
The three Task Force Groups of the Platform, established on this occasion, are as follows:
1. CSR and Prevention of Corruption;
2. Integrity Risks, Compliance Policies, Legislative and Taxation Reforms;
3. International Investments and Transactions and Combat of Corruption in private and public sector
The Task Force Groups representatives are to meet monthly, beginning with the month of October 2017. The initiators proposed that the meetings will take place with the kind support of the Romanian Presidency, at the Cotroceni Palace. The main mission of the Task Force Groups is to formulate suggestions and legislative/administrative proposals and establishing a time table of measures and actions until the next Evaluation Conference, propose to take place in the month of May 2018.
The Technical Secretariat of the Platform is ensured by EUROLINK – House of Europe Foundation with the support of professionals/experts on voluntary basis. Other self-financing activities, such as counseling, advocacy, mediation, parallel evaluation, networking and institutional lobby, will be designed to take place in view of mainly upgrading the reputation standards of the business/investment environment:
prevention and reduction of bribery within international transactions and corruption;
ensuring the fair and transparent competition within the business environment;
the prevention and combat of integrity risks;
a deeper concern and respect of internal conduct codes and compliance, in accordance with Romania’s strategic partners, including the non-EU economic partners such as USA and Canada;
the decreasing of the number of commercial disputes lost by the Romanian State and the business entities active in Romania to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes – ICSID, belonging to the World Bank.
Within the Official Opening of the Round Table the following short greeting messages were addressed on the behalf of the Senate of Romania – MP Mihai GOTIU, Vicepresident of the Senate of Romania; the Romanian Presidency – Prof. Elena-Simina TANASESCU- Presidential Adviser; EBRD London – Mrs. Cristina BUZASU – Acting Principal Manager – External Relations and Partnerships; Romania 100 Platform – Mr. Adrian BABOI-STROE, former State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice; Freedom House Foundation Romania – Mr. Gelu TRANDAFIR – Communication Director/former Secretary of State of the National Audiovisual Council of Romania. The proposal of establishing the Consultative Council of the National Business Anti-Corruption Ombudsman Platform was presented by Mr. Sever AVRAM, Executive President of EUROLINK-House of Europe Foundation, also thanks to the inspiration coming from the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia – Mrs. Olga SAVRAN, the Business Ombudsman Council – Ukrainian Coordinator – Mrs. Tetyana KOROTKA; the Hanns Seidel Foundation – Mr. Ciprian PETCU, Executive Director; the former Secretary of State/Negotiator in relation with OECD, Mrs. Sorana BACIU; the Analysis and Policy Planning Division of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Alina Ruxandra HUSZAR; GRASCO, University of Strasbourg – Mrs. Camelia BOGDAN; Bucharest Bar Association – Mrs. Ana-Maria MUNTEANU – Lawyer; National Institute of Magistracy – Military Prosecutor (r) Trainer Nelu CIOBANU – former Acting Director of INM.
At the Round Table were present the representatives of the most prestigious institutions, who were also invited to become Observer Members of the Platform, such as: Senate of Romania; Romanian Presidency; Romanian Academy; Ministry of Justice; General Directorate Anti-Corruption – Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship; Ministry of Economy; ANAF – Ministry of Public Finances; Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering etc.
At the end of the event, in order to support the acceleration of the national commitments taken by Romania at the Anti-Corruption Global Summit (London, 2016) and the accession to OECD and to the Anti-Bribery Convention within International Transactions, the participants have adopted by consensus the National Anti-Corruption Pact of the Civil Society and of the Business Environment. Taking into account all new trends, recommendations, requirements and legal stipulations, as well as the enormous responsibility assumed by the Romanian NGO sector in view of preventing and combating corruption, the initiators of the National Pact called to a larger affiliation to this guiding document, able to support the future development of the National Business Anti-Corruption Ombudsman Platform.
The guests and participants to this event agreed that there is an exceptional opportunity so that the business environment would assume and apply the new legislative mechanisms and incentives aimed to improve the corporate governance and the reputation of companies. One of the means designed to support such a goal would be the certification and implementation of ISO 370001/2016 regarding the Anti-Bribery and also the emerging Romanian lobby legislation.
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More detailed information are available at: www.houseofeurope.ro
Secretariat of the Organising Consortium
c/o EUROLINK-House of Europe / CIO-SUERD