EU in focus
Event report: Money and politics – how do we regulate online political finance?
During the OSCE Warsaw Human Dimension Conference, EPDE together with experts Olga Aivazovska from Civil Network OPORA (Ukraine), Sylwester Oracz from the Political Accountability Foundation (Poland), and election expert Alexander Shlyk discussed how civil society is leading the way in developing tools and methods for disclosing political finances in the online sphere. Experts highlighted case studies from Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, and Romania concerning what is already being done and what could be done to improve transparency of political finances
Watch a full recording of the event below.
Ukraine is a positive example of progress in this regard, with the strong push for anti-corruption measures of the past years pushing civil society to develop tools to uncover details of political finances and advocate for more transparency. Slovakia similarly has improved the access to data, allowing for political finances to be better analyzed by experts. Romanian civil society has done so much in disclosing political finances, that regulators were forced to follow suit to not be seen as not doing their job. Poland, on the other hand, is a very closed system and the main issue is a lack of access to information, which would allow civil society to disclose more details.
Many of these case studies indicate that it is civil society that is leading the way in the sphere of monitoring political finances and advocating for more transparency. Civil society tends to be the one developing new tools, while governments struggle to catch up. It is therefore vital that international institutions include civil society in the process of developing new tools and that civil society is supported not just politically, but also financially, to capacitate them to continue their work. Regulators must also facilitate this, creating access and regulatory frameworks allowing civil society to conduct their activities.
Authors: Alexander Shlyk, Barbara Jouan Stonestreet, Septimius Pârvu