Transparency and Integrity of Public Administration (The Phenomenon of Corruption and its Perception)

Academic Public Administration Studies

Transparency and Integrity of Public Administration (The Phenomenon of Corruption and its Perception)

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Title: Transparency and Integrity of Public Administration (The Phenomenon of Corruption and its Perception)
Author: Mihaela V., Carausan
Abstract: The transparency and integrity of public administration is a major condition for Romania’s passing from a totalitarian regime to democracy and prosperity and for its integration in the economic, political and security systems of the Euro-Atlantic community. There is a unanimous consensus as far as this necessity is concerned in the Romanian society. Despite all this, the lack of transparency and the corruption in public administration structures have constantly affected Romania’s economic, social and political developments and its relation with the European and Atlantic institutions, as well as its possibility of integration in these structures. The last years have been characterized by a severe worsening of the situation and the most recent internal evaluations, as well as those made by international institutions, strengthen this conclusion. In terms of international undertakings, Romania ‘has been very active’, signed and in some cases already ratified various treaties on the fight against corruption and organized crime, and has played an active role in implementing several evaluation programmes. Domestically, these efforts have resulted in the introduction of a relatively extensive, and comprehensive, legislative framework, providing the authorities responsible for preventing and fighting corruption with a number of effective tools to conduct their tasks. Nonetheless, despite the clear willingness of the Romanian authorities to eliminate corruption, the phenomenon of corruption in Romanian daily life is undeniable. Corruption is the scourge, which increases the poverty and the weaknesses of the State. The phenomenon of corruption is an intrinsic one, which is bound to the moral climate of the society and we must admit that societies in transition (such Romania), are more vulnerable than others. When we analyse corruption in underdeveloped countries we have to take into account the formal and also the informal institutions. For example, an anti-corruption act will make little sense in a legal culture in which no law is enforced and nobody collaborates with the police, as is the case of Romania. A mass education programme risks having no effect at all as long as attributing bad intentions to the government and considering the whole political class a band of thieves at the expense of ordinary citizens is a general belief. The undoubted reality of corruption offences in Romania is all the more worrying by the fact that the institutions most involved in fighting corruption, namely the police and the justice system, are also affected by the phenomenon. This distrust of citizens certainly represents an obstacle to the success of the measures adopted to prevent and fight corruption.
Date: 2005

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