How effective are conflict of interest policies and rules of ministers and top officials?

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A new comparative study by Christoph Demmke, Professor of Public Administration at the University of Vaasa, and Jari Autioniemi, University Teacher, analyzes the effectiveness of rules, policies, and practices related to conflicts of interest of ministers and top officials in EU countries. The study was commissioned by the European Parliament.

The EU member countries were asked how they regulate and manage conflicts of interest, from the declaration of financial interests of ministers and officials to the so-called revolving door phenomenon.

There is a great need for research as the concept of conflict of interest expands, making it difficult to monitor effectively and implement policies effectively. Simply adding regulation does not solve the problem, as conflicts of interest are always linked to the context.

The study by Demmke and Autioniemi suggests that a debate be launched on new, innovative policies. One option would be to focus on the integrity of organizations rather than just talking about individuals. According to the study, conflicts of interest should also be reported more systematically. This reporting could be supported by independent oversight bodies, national ombudsmen, or anti-corruption bodies.

For example, the study proposes regular reporting on potential conflicts of interest for EU Commissioners-designate and proposes the establishment of an independent committee to assess these conflicts of interest.

How should municipalities protect the integrity of their officials?

What can municipalities do in order to protect the integrity of their officials and to prevent integrity violations? And when do municipalities have their 'integrity system' in order? These questions were asked by scholars from the University of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with the cooperation of Professor Christoph Demmke from the University of Vaasa and Jeroen Maesschalck from the University of Leuven in a new study, commissioned by the Dutch Parliament.

The report about Local Integrity Systems in the Netherlands, Germany and Flanders emphasises the importance and added value of an integrated and systematic municipal integrity policy.

- The development of a clear vision of integrity promotion, the formulation of concrete objectives, the appointment of an integrity coordinator, as well as the periodic monitoring, evaluation and adjustment of integrity policies are crucial elements of this, says Professor Demmke.

Read more

Christoph Demmke, Maros Paulini, Jari Autioniemi & Florian Lenner (2020): The Effectiveness of Conflicts of Interest Policies of Ministers and Top Officials in the Member States of the EU.  Study for the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament 2020.

Alain Hoekstra, Leo Hubertsen, André van Montfortmet, Christoph Demmke & Jeroen Maesschalck (2021): Lokale integriteitssystemen in Nederland, Duitsland en Vlaanderen: Wat er is en wat daarvan te leren valt Tweede Kamercommissie voor Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties, 11.2.2021.

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