At the beginning of December, partners from the Transparency International chapters, who implemented the Integrity Pacts pilot in their countries – Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary, came to Poland on a two-day study visit. It was a great opportunity to exchange experiences and to introduce our guests to the Polish public procurement system.
On the first day, we visited the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy – the Managing Authority of the monitored investment in Poland. The representatives of the Ministry talked about the whistleblowing scheme functioning in the Ministry, about the methods of reacting to the detected abuses and about the problems occurring on the Polish public procurement market. They also admitted that the Ministry is interested in continuing Integrity Pacts, pointing out that financing might be a potential obstacle. The Ministry is reluctant to finance future pacts from government funds, and the position of the European Commission on this matter is unclear. Our guests admitted that similar dilemmas also exist in their countries. They also had the opportunity to talk about the investments they monitored.
After visiting the Ministry, observers from other countries were introduced to Mrs. Ewa Kulik-Bielińska, the executive director of the Stefan Batory Foundation, who told about the history and current activities of the Foundation. Then, a remote meeting with a representative of the Public Procurement Office was held. He talked about the Polish public procurement system and about solutions ensuring transparency in this area. He also admitted that, in his opinion, civil society monitoring of public procurement is a good idea.
On the second day, we traveled to Krakow to meet with a representative of ZUE S.A. – the Contractor of investment covered by the Polish pact. She told our guests about the company’s whistleblowers’’ protection policy that was implemented thanks to the Integrity Pact pilot. She described ZUE’s experience in implementation of this policy and how it works in practice. She also shared information on how work in the company operates and talked about the investment covered by the Pact. The meeting was also an opportunity to compare the situation of contractors involved in infrastructural projects in Poland, Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary.