New publication on the impacts of the schemes revealed by the Panama Papers, April 2017

On 27 April 2017, Blomeyer & Sanz and the Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services presented a new study to the European Parliament committee on Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion titled: ‘The Impact of Schemes revealed by the Panama Papers on the Economy and Finances of a Sample of Member States’. 

The study assesses the impacts of the schemes revealed by the Panama Papers, a set of documents leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca detailing tax evasion and avoidance practices, and published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in April 2016. The study explores the concepts and roles of tax havens and offshore financial centres, their budgetary, and the economic and financial impacts in a sample of EU Member States. The research combined previous estimates of tax revenue loss with a microeconomic assessment based on data on companies that are thought to be linked to the Panama Papers schemes. The most significant impacts identified are the negative effects on Member States’ budgets, with wider knock-on effects on economic growth and financial markets. It is recommended that further steps are taken at the national, EU and international levels to increase transparency of corporate and individual taxation and to limit the scope for tax evasion and tax avoidance.

The full report can be found here. the presentation slides can be found here

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New study on cross-border public procurement in the EU, August 2105

Screenshot 2015-10-16 17.03.13In August we published a new study conducted for the European Parliament committee on budgetary control. The study is titled: The Use of EU Funds in Member States in Partnership with Companies (Contractors or Subcontractors) Outside of a Given Member State. Our data analysis shows that between 2012 and 2014, EU Member States awarded 113,749 contracts, related to EU funds, amounting to 116.17 billion EUR. Approximately 90% of these contracts (by value) were awarded to contract operators within the respective Member State. There were 2,882 cross-border contracts amounting to approximately 9.14 billion EUR. Italy and Spain accounted for 35% of all cross-border contracts by value. Poland, Romania, and Slovakia were the top cross-border buyers (5.5 billion EUR). Road infrastructure contracts dominated (by value) cross-border contracting in Poland, and rail-related contracts were predominant in Hungary. The EU Single Market aims to create a level playing field for business across the Union. With few public contracts going to foreign companies, one could raise questions about  the functionality of the Single Market for public procurement.

Presentation at the Foundation Ortega y Gasset in Madrid, June 2015

banner-01-XXVISeminarioOn 9 June 2015, Mike Beke presented at the XXVI Permanent Seminar on Public Administration and Economy organised by the Foundation Ortega y Gasset and Transparency International Spain. The seminar was held in Madrid and was titled ‘Transparency and Integrity: challenges for the public and private sector in Spain’. The President of the Transparency Council in Spain, Ms Esther Arizmendi inaugurated the event and launched the debate by outlining the challenges the Council is facing in order to implement the Spanish Law on Transparency, Access to Information and Good Government. After this, Ms Paloma Baena (OECD), Mr Luis de Sousa (TIAC-Portugal) and Mr Jermyn Brooks (Transparency International) laid out comparatives perspectives on transparency and integrity from the private and public sector. The third panel focused on the role of civil society and the private sector in promoting Open Government. During this session, Mike Beke discussed the use of Integrity Pacts as a tool to fight corruption in public procurement. The final panel consisted of experts on compliance from academia and the private sector.

More information on the seminar can be found here.

Presentation in Brussels at the conference “Integrity Pacts – Safeguarding EU Funds”, May 2015

CEPeIbPUEAEF_e6On 5 May 2015, Roland Blomeyer and Mike Beke presented the findings of the Integrity Pact Learning Review in Brussel to representatives from the European Commission, national governments and civil society. The conference was hosted by Transparency International in collaboration with the European Commission and included three plenary sessions and a panel discussion, dealing with various topics relating corruption in public procurement. The first sessions addressed risk factors of irregularities in public procurement and presented the EU regulatory framework obligations for 2014-202 cohesion funding period. After this, civil society representatives introduced the audience to various examples of monitoring mechanisms to fight corruption in public procurement. The second half of the day specifically focused on the Integrity Pact tool, aiming to inform civil society and national procurement authorities on the use of the mechanism.
All presentations can be found here.

Review of civil society monitoring of public procurement in the European Union, 2015

Blomeyer & Sanz is supporting Transparency International with a review of its Integrity Pact tool. Integrity Pacts are agreements between government agencies and economic operators participating in public procurement processes. The agreement commits parties to refrain from paying, offering, soliciting or accepting bribes, and from colluding with competitors during the procurement process. The review will not only be restricted to the Integrity Pact model but also take in account other multi-stakeholder initiatives with an active role for civil society in monitoring public procurement. Special focus will be placed on initiatives in the European Union with a view on identifying how the model can be adapted to various contexts and needs.

Seminar on anti-corruption measures in European Structural and Investment Funds, November 2014

image002On 18 November 2014, the European Commission in co-operation with the Directorate General of Community Funds, the General Comptroller of the State Administration and Transparency International Spain organised the seminar titled ‘Anti-fraud and Anti-corruption Measures in European Structural and Investment Funds‘. The seminar aimed to: reinforce awareness of legal requirements concerning fraud prevention and risk management in relation to the ESI funds; present guidance and new tools developed by the EC to support Member States; discuss risk assessment and management of public procurement; and exchange information and share good practices from across the EU. Key speakers were invited from the EU anti-fraud office OLAF, European Commission DG Regional and Urban Policy, DG Home Affairs, and DG Employment. In addition, speakers were invited from academia, civil society and the national public sector. Professor Manuel Villoria (Associate Expert at Blomeyer & Sanz) delivered a speech during the closing plenary session on what is needed for an effective whistleblowing system against corruption in Spain.

We attended the seminar due to our specific interest in the EU’s Cohesion Policy and evaluation work on the performance of the different funds. In addition, the seminar’s thematic focus on anti-corruption in public procurement falls in line with our work for DG Home’s network of Local Research Correspondents on Corruption and research conducted by our firm in 2013 for the European Parliament Committee for Budgetary Control.

Political and other forms of corruption in the attribution of public procurement contracts and allocation of EU funds, June 2013

photoMike Beke (Blomeyer & Sanz) and Francisco Cardona (governance expert, former OECD) presented in the European Parliament the interim conclusions from the study “Political and other forms of corruption in the attribution of public procurement contracts and allocation of EU funds”. The study conducted by Blomeyer & Sanz is commissioned by the Parliamentary Committee on Budgetary Affairs on behalf of the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering. The draft report analyses the role of public procurement as a main mechanism for the functioning of the EU internal market. Weaknesses in the procurement process increase the risk for corruption which undermines one of the main raisons d’être of the Union, namely the free movement of goods and services. EU public procurement directives are aimed at promoting competition, internally and cross-border, as a means to develop the internal market. The study therefore recommends that criminal policy on the EU level should be harmonised. After all, the logic of enforcement of the internal market is broken if there is no harmonisation on public procurement enforcement through penal means. The final report will be published by the end of July 2013.

The presentation can be found here. The interim report here.