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Belgrade among least transparent capitals in Europe

Research by the Transparency International chapters. covering 26 European capitals, shows Belgrade is among the least transparent cities.

The capitals were tested based on 14 indicators, including the access to information about the decision-making process, money spending, public procurement and ethic rules.

The researchers looked for data and documents for 12 of the indicators on the websites, while the remaining two they requested based on free access to information of public importance.

Since the study is a pilot project, with relatively small number of indicators, the cities are not ranked but put into three categories: green, where are those with at least 75 percent of the maximum number of points, yellow for those with 50-75 percent score and red for those that scored less than a half of the total number of points.

Besides Belgrade, other cities in the red zone are Sarajevo, Athens, Stockholm, Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, and Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Serbia’s capital has only three positive indicators – its website offers data on public calls and agreements on public procurement, as well as budget information.

Belgrade scored zero in the remaining 9 looked for on the website  becasue they were unavailable. Besides no reply has come from Belgrade authorities to the request for the information of public interest.

Serbia’s capital scored zero because its official website does not offer a report on budget spending, minutes from the City Assembly meetings, the contacts for councillors, ethic code for officials, the contracts the City signs, the results of voting at the Assembly sessions, the Mayor’s work schedule, the report on his property and report on lobbying.

The situation is slightly better since the data about officials’ properties are published by the Anti-Corruption Agency and that the Law on Lobbying came into force.

However, the city’s authorities did not answer to the demand for information about a total income (salaries and other) paid to the Mayor and councillors in 2017, nor did they show the agreements which the City’s authorities had with mobile phones and internet providers.

Out of other regional capitals, Sarajevo scored five green and one yellow indicator, Skopje seven green, Ljubljana eight green and two yellow, while the best score in the whole research recorded Pristina with 12 green and one yellow indicator.

Among the best scorers in the rest of Europe were Kiev, Madrid, Prague, Tallinn and Vilnius; the yellow ones were Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Bratislava, Bucharest, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Moscow, Oslo, Riga, Rome and Sofia.

The details about the research can be found at TS website -  Access To Information In European Capital Cities report at "Initiatives and analysis" page.

Belgrade also did poorly at the overall 2019 Local Transparency Index (LTI) covering 95 transparency indicators of all municipalities and towns in Serbia, a research conducted by Transparency Serbia..

Within the country, among 145 local communities, Belgrade is ranked 118th  with the index 30 (on the scale from 0 to 100), four points worse than two years ago and six points down than in 2015. TS will present LTI 2019 research on September 6th.