Last month’s parliamentary elections in Slovakia signaled the country’s ongoing normalization and integration into the European fold since its formal accession into the EU more than six years ago. This last election was not marred by intimidation and irregularities that so often have accompanied countries transitioning into democracy. Indeed like many new member states from the former Eastern bloc, Slovakia has fairly strong anti-corruption safeguards and accountability mechanisms on the books as the first-ever Global Integrity Report: Slovakia reveals. And yet…
Beneath the sterling legal framework lies a much murkier picture, where implementation and enforcement fall far short. Of particular note is extremely weak enforcement of conflicts of interest regulations for national-level judges, including the continuing politicization of their nomination and confirmation. Furthermore, legal and practical measures protecting whistleblowers in the public and private sectors remain for all intents and purposes non-existent, while the political financing system remains opaque due in part to the lack of an independent monitoring agency.
Slovakia has made strides in shoring up its public integrity system. However, there is still much work to be done to close the implementation gap. Rather than prescribe a one-size-fits-all reform template, we view the public release of our first-ever Slovakia assessment as an invitation to different local/national as well as international stakeholders to reflect on how best to find local, targeted, and realistic solutions. Let the conversation begin.
— Raymond June and Global Integrity