In the wake of Gorilla corruption allegations and the demands of protesters to make political party funding and conflicting relations more transparent, the issue is now being approached by the future government of Robert Fico, which could introduce a reporting obligation for politicians on who they meet, when and why.
Certain kinds of ‘collaboration’ between politicians, public officials and financial groups with an interest in state contracts are an accepted and unavoidable part of societies throughout the world, so everything hinges on to what degree these oftentimes special relationships are above board.
The growing calls in Slovakia for some kind of Lobbying Act have therefore led the incoming government of the Smer-SD party, with its 83/150 majority in parliament, to examine possible legislative measures that would reduce the scope for corruption and cronyism. The idea of anchoring the reporting obligation of politicians into legislation could maybe work, but the law would have to be watertight.
At present there are no fixed set of rules governing meetings and relations between interested groups and MPs in Slovakia, but it is certainly not alone in Europe in that respect. Last week’s scandal in the UK, for instance, revealed that a £250,000 donation to the Conservative party would buy you access to the Prime Minister.
Robert Fico’s new government will be instated on 5 April, and one of the things it plans to do is set up a special committee to look into legislation in this area. Whatever legislation is adopted, if at all, may help reduce scope for corruption, but it might just give these relations a more acceptable public face.