The Slovenia Times

The cost of lawmaking


To avoid the risks, the Corruption Prevention Commission proposed that a legislative motion include the name of external authors involved in its making, the reason why external contractors were commissioned to draw it up and the costs entailed. Currently, only the name of the sponsor of the motion is required.

The commission has analysed transparency of processes in which laws or regulations are drawn up by external contractors in 2004-2010. The analysis showed EUR 7m had been spent on the drafting of 66 bills, two decrees and 22 books of rules and associated legal services.

The watchdog admitted that the engagement of external experts, especially in the fields where rare specific expertise is needed, cannot be fully avoided in preparation of legislation and that such cooperation as a rule contributes to better solutions.

However, it also pointed to the risks involved. One of them is ineffective use of public money, considering that in the cases reviewed millions of euros had been paid to external contractors although this is one of the main jobs of the state administration itself, the commission said in its opinion in principle.

There is also the risk of lobbying or of non-public interference with a regulation based on self-interest, the commission said, citing an occasion in which MPs had decided on a motion that they believed was drawn up by a specific government department while in fact the authors had a vested interest in the solutions.

This is not necessarily contentious if the legislators know who the author is, the commission said in a written statement referring to the bill on a EUR 440m state guarantee for the new generator at the Šoštanj coal-fired power plant TEŠ which was drawn up by TEŠ owner HSE.

The commission has also established that the authors of laws often act as proxies or authors of opinions for one of the parties in administrative disputes or in courts. This sometimes leads to confusion or biased decisions as the author interpreting a regulation also acts as a provider of paid services in concrete court or administrative procedures.


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