Lade Inhalt...

Poland's Phyrric victory over bribery and collusion on its way to the European Union

Seminararbeit 2003 18 Seiten


Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Figures and general aspects
II. 1. The Data
II.2. Perceptions
II.3. Main fields of corruption

III. Measures taken by the government
III. 1. Anti-corruption policy
III. 2. Corruption being a political issue
III. 3. Impact of the EU accession

IV. Institutions and legislation
IV.1. Anti-corruption legislation
IV.2. Audit and control
The Supreme Audit Chamber (NIK)
Internal audit
IV.3. Anti-corruption agencies
Money laundering
IV.4. Ombudsman

V. Public Procurement
V.1. Legislative framework
Conflict of interest
V.2. Review and audit
V.3. Corruption

VI. Conclusion


I. Introduction

Despite the bad impression Poland’s position in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index has remained unchanged since 1999. Nevertheless, corruption is not declining but rather growing in several areas. As a matter of fact, the number of scandals reporting “irregularities” involving politicians and other public officials has been on the rise for the last two or three years. So is the discussion of legislation and other measures. Attention shall be drawn to the fact that the considerably higher number of convictions for corruption since 1998, as well as the more common presence of corruption-related topics in the media is rather due to greater media activity than thanks to the effectiveness of institutions of prosecution.

According to several surveys corruption is most widespread in the healthcare system, judiciary, sub-national governments and central State administration. Furthermore, it is common in privatisation and off-budget agencies activities, political party finance, as well as in the tax and customs administration. Corruption becomes an important issue even in the private sector.

This paper aims to elaborate the impact of the EU accession on the anti-corruption policy. After presenting data and main areas of corruption, the most important institutions and legislation will be dealt with. It seems that public procurement is the area the most compatible with EU anti-corruption legislation. Consequently, this topic will be discussed in detail in this paper. As already mentioned, corruption in other areas is rather increasing as decreasing. The reasons and consequences for this development will not be dealt with explicitly in this paper, for, apparently, the EU accession process has not yet put enough pressure on authorities to take measures against these widespread practices.

II. Figures and general aspects

II. 1. The Data

According to several surveys bribery is common in Poland. It is true that no trend can be discovered, but it seems that the number of conviction for corruption has been rising steadily since 1998.

Table 1: Number of final convictions for corruption

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Notes: *Due to the introduction of the new Criminal code, these figures represent only the last quarter

Source: Ministry of Justice, Poland

II.2. Perceptions

International institutions have a rather optimistic view on the fight against corruption in Poland. For the last years (1998 till 2001) Poland did not score very high (between 4.2 and 4.1) in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, while staying at the 44th position in 2001[1]. The World Bank/EBRD 1999 Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey indicates that administrative corruption is not a major problem compared to other CEE countries. Companies are said to pay 1.2 percent of their annual revenues in bribes[2].

Perceptions of corruptions among public officials and politicians seem to have boosted, though. According to national surveys 68 percent of respondents considered corruption a very great problem in August 2001 (33 percent in 1991, 49 percent in 1992 and 46 percent in 2000)[3].

To put it in a nutshell, surveys indicate corruption being a serious problem, but there is proof of the public having significantly worse perceptions than real life experience[4].

II.3. Main fields of corruption

Different perceptions of reality can be found not only in the scale but also in the main areas of corruption. The public opinion survey mentioned above reveals the “ranking” of the following sectors: 67 percent respondents believed corruption is widespread in the health service, followed by judiciary (49 percent), territorial government administration (39 percent), central State administration (25 percent) and the police (23 percent). Whereas parliamentary deputies enumerated customs officers (89 percent), followed by local politicians (63 percent), local fovernment administration (53 percent), national public administration (50 percent), the police (46 percent) and national politicians (38 percent)[5].

However, in 2000, the Ministry of Interior and Administration published the following report presenting the following areas: insurance, public enterprises (especially in the energy and food sector), national State and local self-government administration, the banking sector, the health service, privatisation and restitution, control and audit agencies (including tax adminstration, customs control and commercial courts in cases of bankruptcy) and last but not least, public procurement[6] (although this area has been more or less successfully worked on)

III. Measures taken by the government

III. 1. Anti-corruption policy

Legislation against corruption started in 1997 and 1999. The Act on Access to Information and a new Electoral Act regulated political party financing. Unfortunately, these initiatives were only proposals by MPs and consequently, never came into legal existence. Still, Poland does not have a coordinated anti-corruption strategy. In fact, Leszek Balcerowicz, Deputy Minister in May 2000, created a working group whose task was to investigate on the sources of corruption and work on solution aiming for elimination. Their report proposed many specific measures with regard to the treasury administration, the customs services, the traffic police, healthcare, and judiciary.

Three months later, in August 2000, The Economic Committee of the Council of Ministers acknowledged these results. Nevertheless, the Government never discussed them, due to the collapse of the ruling coalition with the departure of the Freedom Union (with Balcerowicz being a member). Finally, the strategy suggested never came into life.

There is still no coordinated anti-corruption strategy, but some important legislation has been realised since 2000:

- Act on Counteracting the Introduction into Economic Circulation of Assets from Illegal or Undeclared Sources (2000)[7] ;
- Amendments to the Public Procurement Act (2001)[8] ;
- Act on Access to Public Administration (2001)[9].


[1] Score from o (highly corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt) – see

[2] J. Hellman, G. Jones and D. Kaufmann, “Seize the State, Seize the Day: Sate Capture, Corruption and Influence in Transition”, Policy Research Working Paper 2444, World Bank Institute and EBRD, September 2000, p.7.

[3] A. Grudniewicz, „Korupcja i afery korupcyjne w Polsce“, CBOS report no. 2554, 20 August 2001: survey made in August 2001 on a sample of 964 people.

[4] „Korupcja w zyciu publicznym“, CBOS report, November 1999.

[5] J. Kurczewski, Poslowie a opinia publiczna, Warsaw 1999.

[6] „Dzialania podejmowoane przez rzad w celu przeciwdzialania przestepczosci gospodarczej i korupcji“,

[7] passed on 16 November 2000, in: Law Journal 2000, no. 116, item 1216.

[8] Act on Amendments to Law on Public Procurement, passed on 26 July 2001, in: Law Journal 2001, no. 113, item 1208.

[9] Act on Access to Public Information, passed on 6 September 2001, in: Law Journal 2001, no. 112, item 1198.


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
454 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien – Interdisciplinary Institute for European Questions
very good
Poland Phyrric European Union Transformation Enlargement



Titel: Poland's Phyrric victory over bribery and collusion on its way to the European Union