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Estonia to focus on raising corruption awareness

TALLINN – In the fight against corruption over the next two years, the Estonian government intends to focus attention on raising the awareness of residents about corruption and increasing transparency in the public sector.

According to the implementation plan for the next two-year period endorsed by the government on Thursday together with the report on the implementation of the anti-corruption strategy in 2017, attention will be paid in the forthcoming period to raising corruption awareness and shaping of residents' anti-corruption attitudes, the Ministry of Justice said on Monday.

The fight against corruption will also focus on increasing the transparency of the actions and decisions of the public sector and conduct of sectoral surveys and analyses

"In a country of rule of law it is important that communication with the public authority and the making of decisions concerning everyone were appropriate and consistent with the rules of fair play," Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu said.

The implementation plan for the next two years therefore calls for setting out rules of good practice for public sector employees concerning their communication with interest groups. In addition, the Ministry of Justice will provide training to public sector employees to develop ethical conduct and attitudes opposing corruption.

Reinsalu described it as important for also the institutions of the state and municipalities to make a contribution to their employees being able to avoid conflicts of interest and combat corruption. "Corruption continues to be a serious problem primarily in municipalities, which is why it is necessary to work more vigorously to develop attitudes opposing corruption there," the minister added.

For this, the ministry intends to make a toolbox available to municipalities containing guidelines for corruption-free management of affairs, tools for identifying corruption risks and a test for checking corruption awareness. In addition, the conduct of internal audit is to be made mandatory for municipalities.

The action plan contains plans for surveys charting the spread of corruption and people's values that could be used to measure the spread of corruption and the damage caused by it to society.

"Where so far sectoral corruption risks have been charted in the environment, education and healthcare, we wish to conduct similar surveys also in other fields," Reinsalu said.

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