The fight against corruption is not free of charge. As a multidimensional issue, the fight against corruption requires political, institutional and material resources that would reflect the declarative efforts and contribute to visible results. Even a potential political consensus does not imply an efficient fight against corruption unless it is preceded by the allocation of sufficient resources and unless the institutions involved are provided an opportunity to work without hindrance. In this context, the Parliament can play a pivotal role by redefining the approach used so far and by acting proactively.
First, in order to estimate the extent of investment in society required, it is key to map and assess the needs and capacities of the institutions on the front lines of the fight against corruption. In the same vein, a comprehensive, detailed insight into the capacities, working conditions and the regulatory impediments and challenges these institutions face is required. The MPs may contribute to this process a great deal by establishing active communication with the governing and executive bodies of the anti-corruption institutions, but also with external actors that may contribute to the improved detection of the challenges and optimization of the next steps in line with the available resources.
This kind of active cooperation between the MPs and the anti-corruption institutions would yield information on their work that is seldom included in the annual reports submitted to Parliament. That would provide a better insight into the range of material and regulatory challenges these institutions face. This might include the working conditions, the finances or the lack of trained and motivated staff that is inextricably linked to the fact that, because of the funds and positions foreseen in the systematization, these institutions are unable to employ specialized, technical staff that cost more on the labor market. In addition, the frequent equivocation and blurred lines in the regulation hinder their work, which in turn prevents them from fully exercising their competences.
The horizontal cooperation between institutions must be motivated by development goals that would be delineated in advance in consultation with the political actors and the competent institutions. In that way, the reforms of the institutions would be synchronized with the achievement of a societal goal with a greater scope. The thematic oversight hearings are a fertile ground for achieving this goal, whereby the accurate allocation of the roles to different institutions in order to address a specific issue would result in the mapping of the competences, resources and performance of all institutions involved. Establishing such a practice is a key step towards addressing multidimensional challenges such as the fight against corruption. The solution-driven approach would also provide for an assessment of both the institutional investment required and the cost of the regulatory framework implementation and/or reform.
In the year to come, the implementation of the key reforms at home will be exceptionally important. In that context, it is important that, as a society, we are aware of the investment into the fight against corruption required as a starting point for building a political consensus, initially, and then for drafting suitable policies.
The project is supported by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). IDSCS assumes responsibility for the content, which in no way represents the views of the National Endowment for Democracy.
The Anti-Corruption Talk in Parliament (ACT in Parliament) project includes investigative and representative activities, mainly to support the reform process in North Macedonia by amplifying the supervisory role of the Assembly in terms of the fight against corruption.