What problem are you solving?:
Slovak Republic as a member of the European Union is eligible for the use of the significant amount of the financial means from various EU funds. As any provision of public funds also the EU funds constitute possible risk of corrupting behaviour, clientelism and political influencing of the process of the evaluation of applications and selection of successful applicants and projects or manipulating tenders. Slovakia had been already facing a few scandals with a suspicion of misuse of the EU funds. However, these were rather exceptional cases of deliberate leak of information than a result of systematic monitoring or investigation. Government and the ministries responsible for the distribution of the EU funds do not publish much information concerning their decision-making on the use of the EU funds although they do have means (their own web sites), they do have funds and they do have human resources. What they lack is the willingness to be transparent.
Describe your idea:
Two years ago KI started a project “Eurofunds Watchdog“. As part of the project the web site www.monitoringfondov.eu has been established. On this web site we publish all information we have obtained from the ministries in response to our requests for information on the basis of the Free Access to Information Act.
The project financed by CEE Trust will terminate at the end of 2009. However, Slovakia will continue to use the EU funds and the ministries will continue to make non-transparent decisions on the award of grants and contracts. Therefore KI intends to continue in monitoring process, which mainly consists of writing requests for information to ministries and publishing the information on the web page. These are all information that are not secret, but the government and ministries hesitate to publish them on their own web pages in order to limit the chances that the civil society will discover the cases of the corruption, clientelism and the inefficient use of the EU funds.
What country will this operate in?: Slovakia
Who are you?:
Konzervatívny inštitút M.R.Štefánika (Conservative Institute – KI, http://www.institute.sk) is a non-profit NGO – a conservatively oriented think-tank. The objective of the KI is to contribute to the creation of a conservative community and the cultivation of conservative opinions. Contrary to some other think-tanks the activities of the KI are not orientated only toward one sphere of public life or society. The common denominator of the activities performed by the conservative view on society and a liberal approach to economy.
Ivan Kuhn has graduated in Political Sciences at Comenius University in Bratislava (1995) and International Relations at University of Kent at Canterbury, UK (1997). He has worked as a journalist dealing with International Relations and European Affairs. For 9 years he had been working as a project manager and consultant within many EU funded projects. Since 2007 he works for Conservative Institute as Project Director of the Eurofunds Watchdog project.