Yesterday, representatives of the Special Investigation Service (STT), 16 different foreign embassies and Chambers of Commerce discussed recent anti-corruption trends and business environment at the event “Transparency Talk”, which was organised together with Transparency International Lithuanian Chapter (TILS).
The discussion on creating anti-corruption environment in Lithuania involved representatives of the embassies of the United States of America, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Estonia, Poland, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, representatives of the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, French, German, Polish, Estonian Chambers of Commerce, as well as representatives of the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Investors’ Forum and business company ORLEN Lietuva. The event was moderated by Mr. Vaidotas Beniušis, Editor-in-Chief of the BNS News Agency and Chairman of the Board of the TILS.
“The improving trends of the anti-corruption environment for business show that Lithuania’s competitive potential in the international area is strengthening. Transparent and open business environment is a prerequisite for sustainable economic development. Over past twenty years, indicators of corruption perception and direct (personal) corruption experience among business representatives decreased dramatically. We see clearly that intolerance towards this phenomenon is increasing and that businesses are proactively applying anti-corruption measures. For further progress, we need to build an anti-corruption community, which would connect representatives of different sectors responsible for integrity and anti-corruption”, says Mr. Žydrūnas Bartkus, Director of the STT.
“I am delighted that our event has received so much attention from foreign diplomats and businesses. I would like “Transparency Talks” to become an annual tradition, because such discussions give opportunities not only to talk about what was done over the years, but also to hear how others appreciate you and where you need to improve”, says Sergejus Muravjovas, CEO of the TILS.
The improving anti-corruption trends for Lithuanian business environment are observed in the results of both international and national surveys. Lithuania was awarded 60 points and currently is at the 35th place among 180 countries at the most recent global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2019. Lithuania gained an additional point and rose by 3 positions since last year rankings.
“Flash Eurobarometer 482: Businesses' attitudes towards corruption in the EU”, 2019 survey published by the European Commission, shows that corruption is becoming a less small obstacle to doing business in Lithuania. Corruption was identified as a problem in Lithuania only by 15 percent of business executives. Compared to the result of 2015 (28 percent), this indicator has decreased almost twice. Among 28 countries, Lithuania is ranked at 8th as a country where corruption is the least pressing issue in business development. From an anti-corruption point of view, business environment in Lithuania is more favourable than in neighbouring countries such Latvia and Poland.
Data from the sociological survey "Lithuanian Map of Corruption 2019" initiated by the STT also show the best anti-corruption trends in the business environment over the past decades. The indicators of corruption perception and direct (personal) experience of corruption among business representatives are decreasing, while awareness of whom to report corruption is increasing. However, corruption is still treated as a very serious problem. Nepotism and cronyism (protectionism of relatives and friends) are mentioned as the most relevant forms of corruption that hinder business development.
In 2019, the best ever scores on the scale of corruption were recorded. Only 12% business executives stated that the extent of corruption has increased over the last 5 years, while there were almost 5 times more (55%) such representatives in 2017. It is noteworthy that business representatives find out about corruption mostly from the TV or the Internet (82%), but much less on the basis of their direct (personal) experience (3%).
The results of direct (personal) experience of corruption are the best in almost twenty years. Only 5 percent of business representatives gave a bribe within the last 12 months while there were 5 times more such representatives in 2002 (27%).
However, "Lithuanian Map of Corruption 2019" shows a certain stagnation of the business's anti-corruption potential – awareness of business representatives on where to report corruption is growing faster than their willingness to report it.
In 2019, the number of business representatives who knew where they can report corruption has almost doubled since 2007, from 35 percent to 61 percent. However, the proportion of those willing to report has not changed significantly for a decade: it is currently 31 percent (25 percent in 2007 and 36 percent in 2014).
The analysis of the awareness of business representatives about bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions shows that one out of four (25%) has heard of corruption risks related to doing business abroad and one out of five (18%) has heard of measures, which are being implemented in Lithuania, to fight foreign bribery.
Full presentation in English is here.