EIC takes stand on corruption

By Chris Sleight19 May 2008

European International Contractors (EIC), a trade association that represents European contractors working outside their national boundaries, has published a draft position paper on corruption prevention.

Produced by the EIC's Working Group on Ethics, the paper seeks to address the attitude its sees among many governments and NGOs that it says demonise the private sector. Describing such stances as "simplistic policy statements," the EIC makes several points about the nature of corruption. Among other issues, it says that construction companies themselves are often the victims of unethical behaviour on the part of public officials that solicit bribes.

A statement from the EIC said, "The Working Group ‘Ethics' has been asked to draft a policy response based on the principle that, for corruption prevention, ‘It takes two to tango.'"

The EIC says any anti-corruption policy must be holistic, which is to say it must be implemented by all stakeholders. It also says that any workable policy must be commercially oriented, and be designed to find loopholes where corruption my occur, with a view to prevention.

Speaking at the EIC's general assembly in Milan on 16 May, Per Nielsen, chair of the Working Group said, "Corruption is a real threat to our industry's activities. Not just overseas, but in Europe too.

"We have tried to present some concrete solutions to prevent corruption. It can be don, but only if we act together as contractors."

According to Mr Nielsen, the draft position paper will now be edited to form a formal document, which will hopefully be presented at the EIC's next meeting in Amsterdam in early March.

More information about the EIC is available at: www.eicontractors.de

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