Lithuania outdid Greece in accountability of EU Council presidency spending

DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Summarizing the reports from Brussels and Grece, Transparency International Lithuanian Chapter’s head Sergejus Murvajovas said Lithuania provided more detailed information on presidency expenses.

“The difference is not big but if we have budget transparency in mind, Lithuania did better in terms of preparations for the EU presidency and during it. Lithuania provided more detailed information during the preparation and said what it planned to spend the money on. The Greeks provided approximate numbers, and it was harder to see how they planned to spend it. During the presidency, the Lithuanians also could see where the money went, be it the rent of a conference room or the purchase of souvenirs. Meanwhile, the Greeks generalized everything and it was more difficult to see how they were going to spend the money,” Muravjovas told BNS.

He underlined, however, that there are still many instruments for a country to improve accountability.

“During the EU presidency, state expenses should have been stated in the same transparent way states usually do. Naturally, it’s good that during the presidency we did better than Greece in terms of accountability but I would like higher standards to be set internally in Lithuania as we could publish such data in an open format for other people to be able to access that data more easily and use it,” Muravjovas said.

The TILC head also said it’s difficult to compare state achievements in resolving anti-corruption issues during the EU presidency. According to Muravjovas, despite the fact that the Lithuanian EU presidency had three anti-corruption priorities and the Greek presidency had five, it doesn’t mean the Greeks did a better job.

“Specific anti-corruption decisions should be evaluated taking into account the other Trio countries (Greece and Ireland). Since Greece was the last of the Trio, theoretically it could have resolved more anti-corruption issues. But certain processes need time, therefore, we cannot attribute all achievements to one country,” Muravjovas said.

Lithuania held the rotating EU presidency in the last half of 2013 and Greece took over in the first half of this year.

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