Belgrade ranks among the least transparent capital cities in Europe, according to the latest survey covering European 26 capital cities, conducted by Transparency International chapters, Transparency Serbia said in a statement on Aug. 26.
Transparency levels of the cities were assessed based on 14 indicators, including access to information about decision-making, budget execution, public procurement, and the ethics rules.
For 12 indicators, data and documents were taken from official websites of the cities surveyed, while for two, information was sought from the cities based on the right to free access to information of public importance.
Given the relatively small number of indicators, the cities were not ranked, but put into three broad categories: green (with a score of at least 75% of maximum points), orange (50–74.9% points) and red (below 50% of points).
Belgrade was placed in the red category, together with Sarajevo, Athens, Stockholm, Chisinau, and Yerevan. Serbia’s capital showed good practice (positive indicators) only by three indicators: notices of public procurement calls available on the City Hall ěs website, budget available on the website as well as the results of public procurements.
For other indicators, Belgrade received zero points as information was not available to the public. Additionally, the city administration did not respond to the request for access to information of public importance, according to Transparency Serbia.
Belgrade received zero points for not having the following information available to the public: budget report (execution), the minutes from the City Hall sessions, the names and contact details of City Hall members, the Code of Conduct of the elected city representatives, contracts, the individual voting records from the City Council sessions, the mayor ěs working schedule (meetings calendar), the current asset declarations of the Mayor and the City Council members, and the current lobbying register of the Mayor and the City Council members.
The situation gets only slightly brighter if the following is taken into account - asset declarations of city officials are published on another website, the Anti-Corruption Agency, and the Law on Lobbying has only recently taken effect.
The city authorities did not provide on request the information on the mayor’s and individual counselors’ total pay for 201 or contracts for its current supplier of telecom and internet services.
In the region, Sarajevo scored five green and one orange indicators, Skopje, seven green, Ljubljana, eight green and two orange indicators, while Pristina performed best with 12 green and one orange indicators.
Best performing capital cities in Europe include Kiev, Madrid, Prague, Tallinn and Vilnius, while the orange category features Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Bratislava, Bucharest, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Moscow, Oslo, Riga, Rome, and Sofia.
Belgrade also ranks low on the 2019 Local Transparency Index (LTI) 2019, which Transparency Serbia conducted this year, ranking transparency levels of all Serbia’s municipalities and towns against 95 indicators, according to the announcement.
In Serbia, Belgrade overall ranks 118 out of 145 local self-governments, with 30 index (on the scale from 0 to 100), or four points down from 2016 and six points lower than in 2015.