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Latvia

Lobbying Transparency (LV0031)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Latvia National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: State Chancellery and the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau

Support Institution(s): Center for Public Policy "PROVIDUS" Latvian Free Trade Union

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Lobbying, Participation in Lawmaking, Sustainable Development Goals

IRM Review

IRM Report: Latvia Implementation Report 2017-2019, Latvia Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

DECISION-MAKING PROCESS AND OPENNESS
lobbying
DEADLINE:
2017 2nd half - 2019 1st half
WHAT ARE THE STATE AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST ISSUES WHICH HELPS MEETING THIS
COMMITMENT?
Openness towards the public and the obligation to inform the public about its activities in the State Administration
Structure Law 29 defined public administration principles. Open and accessible to the public state institutions is a
prerequisite for good governance. Lack of transparency in decision-making undermines public understanding of the
work of state institutions and confidence in them.
An open and transparent decision-making process involves both public information about state institutions developed
and decisions, as well as their interpretation, giving the public the benefits and also the basis on which these
decisions are developed and adopted. Openness contributes to more robust, higher quality and more relevant
decisions in the public interest by reducing the risk that decisions are taken without an objective basis or a narrow,
unknown to the general public, interest affects.
The issue of transparency in the decision-making process is not sufficiently actualized as public administration and other state
bodies ethical and cultural issue. Promote discussion and understanding of the openness and reasoned decision of the role
and benefits of encouraging a change in attitudes, including greater tolerance of lack of openness.
Transparency in decision-making is an important issue - to ensure transparency in lobbying. Solving a
problem has its roots in 2008. MK 2008
28th July Order No. 435 "On the concept of" legal regulation of lobbying need Latvian '' 30 contained solution -
lobbying transparency guiding principles established at the national and local government code of ethics and to
amend the legislation. Since 2008, most state and local government code of ethics for lobbying transparency
guiding principles were included. However, they are more declarative and practical steps to ensure the
transparency of lobbying bodies are not made. This is largely due to the lack of understanding of what should be
considered as lobbying and lobbyists.
29 See: https://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=63545
30 The concept of "legal regulation of lobbying need to Latvian." View: http://polsis.mk.gov.lv/
4th
COMMITMENT
LATVIAN OPEN MANAGEMENT THIRD NATIONAL ACTION PLAN 26
Amendments in accordance with that concept was necessary in the following laws and regulations: MK
March 6, 2007 Regulation No. 171 'Procedures by which Institutions Place Information on the Internet, provided by the Saeima' ',
the Cabinet of Ministers of 12 March 2002 Regulation No. 111 '' the Cabinet of Ministers Rules of Order '' Law '' On Local
Governments '' and the Criminal Law. Part of the amendment has been prepared, but none of them entered into force.
2017 June 9, the President Raimonds Vejonis established legal environment development commission seminar
"Lobbying regulation at Latvian" confirmed lobbying transparency momentum Latvian and the need to promote it.
Therefore, it was recommended OGP framework to build a platform for an open discussion on what has been
lobbying for, what are the related problems and to promote transparency in lobbying.
OECD Council Recommendation on lobbying transparency and integrity principles 31 OECD Member States on the following
requirements:
• to ensure that all interested parties a fair and equal access to public institutions in policy development and
implementation;
• lobbying legislation must be dealing with lobbying related to management shortcomings and in
compliance with each country's socio-political and administrative contexts;
• to provide an appropriate level of transparency to the public administration, citizens and business environment
have sufficient information on the ongoing lobbying and the public can exercise its supervisory function;
• promote integrity-based culture in public institutions and decision-making by providing clear rules
and standards of conduct for officials.
WHAT IS COMMITMENT?
Facilitate decision-making process in state institutions and lobbying transparency:
• identify key lobbying and its lack of openness the challenges of legislative and executive bodies
and the identification of various stakeholders vision of the solutions;
• raise awareness of transparency in the decision-making process, the decision and the reasons for explaining to the
public the introduction of common values and ethical principles in public administration.
HOW TO COMMITMENT will be introduced and the solution to these problems?
The commitment will be implemented by organizing a debate on lobbying and introducing measures providing information on
shared values and ethical principles in public administration, including transparency
31 OECD. "C (2010) 16 Recommendation of the Council on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying".
2010 View: http://acts.oecd.org/Instruments/ShowInstrumentView.aspx?InstrumentID=256&
LATVIAN OPEN MANAGEMENT THIRD NATIONAL ACTION PLAN 27
and information as to the basis on which decisions are made. Commitment to contribute to the transparency and integrity of public
administration aimed at cultural formation.
HOW TO MEET COMMITMENT OGP VALUES?
Commitment to comply with the OGP values - openness, accountability and public participation. Commitment
to provide greater public access to information, quality information, it is focused on greater public
accountability for the decisions taken.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Compliance with international obligations
• UN Sustainable Development 16.6. Sub "Developing an effective, accountable and transparent
institutions at all levels"
INTERMEDIATE OBJECTIVES
1 Organize focus group discussions on lobbying transparency
01.01.2018. - 01.07.2019.
RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
State Chancellery and the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau
MEASURE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF RELEVANT PARTNERS
Center for Public Policy "PROVIDUS" Latvian
Free Trade Union

IRM Midterm Status Summary

4. Transparency of decision-making and lobbying

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

Editorial Note: The Latvian government did not submit an official English translation of its 2017−2019 to OGP. Therefore, the original Latvian version as it appears in the action plan can be viewed below. For the full text of this commitment, please see the Latvia 2017−2019 action plan here: https://www.mk.gov.lv/sites/default/files/editor/atvertas-parvaldibas-plans2017.pdf.

Veicināt lēmumu pieņemšanas procesa valsts institūcijās un lobēšanas atklātumu:

  • identificēt galvenās ar lobēšanu un tās atklātības trūkumu saistītās problēmas likumdošanas un izpildvaras institūcijās un apzināt dažādu iesaistīto pušu redzējumu par to risinājumu;
  • veicināt izpratni par atklātību lēmumu pieņemšanas procesā, lēmumu un to pamatojuma izskaidrošanu sabiedrībai, ieviešot vienotas vērtības un ētikas principus valsts pārvaldē.

Milestone

4.1. Organizēt fokusa grupu diskusijas par lobēšanas atklātību

Start Date: 1 Jul. 2017

End Date: 30 Jul. 2019

Context and Objectives

This commitment continues from Latvia’s first action plan (2013−2014) [23] and second action plan (2015−2017). [24] During the first plan, a draft law was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers [25]. Instead, the Cabinet of Ministers asked if changes to other laws could better ensure lobbying transparency. The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB) offered recommendations to the Parliament committee, but they were not implemented until the beginning of this action plan. [26]

While decision-making in Latvia is generally transparent, it can still be opaque. For example, ministry officials and parliamentarians are not obliged to reveal meetings with special interest groups. Leaked records of conversations of influential politicians revealed how financial business interests can sway public institutions and the media. [27]

This commitment aims to introduce a joint understanding of ethics in public administration and gather stakeholder input on lobbying through focus groups. However, it is unclear how these discussions will develop policy to ensure transparent lobbying. The action plan does not explain how the focus group discussions will be organized or which groups will be involved. It is also unclear if findings from the discussions will be used and if they will result in any policy document. Therefore, the potential impact is minor.

Next steps

Lobbying transparency is an important policy area in Latvia requiring further discussion and governmental action. Considering the recent parliamentary changes after the October 2018 elections, [28] the CPCB and interested NGOs could plan more ambitious commitments around lobbying transparency and accountability with support from the new Parliament.

Passing robust lobbying transparency legislation requires wide consultations with stakeholders, including politicians, lobbying groups, advocacy CSOs, media, and representatives of public administrations. The next action plan could include a commitment on developing lobbying regulations with involvement from these stakeholders. The next step would be to identify expected outcomes of these consultations.

[23] Government of Latvia, Open Government Partnership Action Plan of Latvia (OGP, 2012), https://www.mk.gov.lv/sites/default/files/editor/latvijas_pirmais_nacionalais_ricibas_plans_ogp_2012.g._eng.pdf.

[24] Government of Latvia: Cabinet of Ministers, Second National Action Plan of Latvia (OGP, 23 Dec. 2014), https://www.mk.gov.lv/sites/default/files/editor/ogp_2_plans_aktualizets_05.12.2016_eng_clean.pdf.

[25] State Chancellery, “Draft legislation of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia, Draft Law on Lobbying, http://tap.mk.gov.lv/lv/mk/tap/?pid=40253850

[26] Zinta Miezaine, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Latvia End-of-Term Report 2015–2017 (OGP, 2017), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Latvia_EOT_Report_2015-2017_EN.pdf.

[27] Ir, “Oligarchs in hotel "Ridzene"” (2017),  https://web.archive.org/web/20170803080641/http://www.irlv.lv/ridzenessarunas/.

[28] Central Election Commission, “13. Election of the Saeima” (accessed 28 Feb. 2019), https://sv2018.cvk.lv/pub/ElectedCandidates.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

4. Transparency of decision-making and lobbying

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

Editorial Note: The Latvian government did not submit an official English translation of its 2017−2019 to OGP. Therefore, the original Latvian version as it appears in the action plan can be viewed below. For the full text of this commitment, please see the Latvia 2017−2019 action plan here: https://www.mk.gov.lv/sites/default/files/editor/atvertas-parvaldibas-plans2017.pdf.

Veicināt lēmumu pieņemšanas procesa valsts institūcijās un lobēšanas atklātumu:

  • identificēt galvenās ar lobēšanu un tās atklātības trūkumu saistītās problēmas likumdošanas un izpildvaras institūcijās un apzināt dažādu iesaistīto pušu redzējumu par to risinājumu;
  • veicināt izpratni par atklātību lēmumu pieņemšanas procesā, lēmumu un to pamatojuma izskaidrošanu sabiedrībai, ieviešot vienotas vērtības un ētikas principus valsts pārvaldē.

Milestone

4.1. Organizēt fokusa grupu diskusijas par lobēšanas atklātību

Start Date: 1 Jul. 2017

End Date: 30 Jul. 2019

While decision-making in Latvia generally is transparent, ministry officials and parliamentarians do not have to reveal meetings with special interest groups. This commitment aimed to introduce a joint understanding of ethics in public administration and gather stakeholder input on lobbying. [17]

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB) fully implemented this commitment. The CPCB developed amendments to the Rules of Procedure of Parliament which were supported by the Legal Committee of the Parliament on 14 November 2017. The amendments call for:

  • disclosing proposals and amendments to draft laws by parliamentarians as well as information on which interest groups or individuals were consulted during the construction of each proposal or amendment;
  • publishing committee agendas, committee guests (NGOs, experts, etc.), and any documents received prior to committee meetings (letters, opinions on drafts, parliamentarian proposals, etc.);
  • ensuring equal opportunities to participate in consultations for all formal and informal groups, as well as and individuals, and providing information on consultations; and
  • providing the Committee of Mandates and Ethics the right to initiate cases on unethical behavior which requires parliamentarians to inform their committees of potential conflicts of interest they might have regarding draft laws.

The CPCB also submitted amendments to the law “On eliminating conflicts of interest of Public Officials” which requires parliamentarians to inform their committees of potential conflicts of interest they might have regarding draft laws. [18] However, neither of these amendments passed by the end of the action plan period. [19]

Within the framework of this commitment, Delna and the Parliament Committee on Defense, Interior and Corruption Prevention organized a discussion on 10 December 2018 about the need for a lobbyist register and regulations for lobbying. Also, 13 parliamentarians signed Transparency International’s International Declaration against Corruption. [20] The Committee voted fotr the concept to develop lobbying regulations in spring session of 2019. It established a working group to develop draft law. The group consists of parliamentarians from all the political factions elected in Parliament. [21]

This commitment marginally improved participation due to the focus groups. However, it did not lead to any changes in lobbying transparency because the proposed amendments are not yet in force. As a result, Latvia still lacks an open data lobbyist register. [22] Nonetheless, the new parliament, which was elected during the implementation of the commitment (16 October 2018) plans to adopt the amendments during its term. Furthermore, the parliament committee for Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention participated in developing the fourth action plan (2019−2021), which includes a commitment on lobbying transparency. [23] Lastly, it should be noted that the results achieved under Commitment 7 (Code of Ethics) in the current plan also relate to lobbying regulations but are analyzed separately with that commitment.

[17] Zinta Miezaine, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Latvia Design Report 2017−2019 (OGP, 2019), 27, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Latvia_Design-Report_2017-2019_EN.pdf.

[18] Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB), email exchange with IRM researcher, Oct. 2019.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Interview with Parliamentarian Inese Voika, June 19, 2020.

[22] Antonio Greco, Open data and the fight against corruption in Latvia, Sweden and Finland: Latvia (Delna, Open Knowledge International, Nov. 2018), 23, https://delna.lv/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/OD4AC_LV_Final7.pdf.

[23] Government of Latvia, Fourth National Open Government Partnership Action Plan of Latvia 2020−2021 (OGP, 11 Feb. 2020), 17−20, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Latvia_Action-Plan_2019-2021_EN.pdf.


Commitments

  1. Transparency in Public Procurement and Contracts

    LV0040, 2019, Access to Information

  2. Open Data

    LV0041, 2019, Access to Information

  3. Transparency in Lobbying

    LV0042, 2019, Capacity Building

  4. Open Municipal Government

    LV0043, 2019, E-Government

  5. Public Engagement in Policymaking

    LV0044, 2019, Capacity Building

  6. Anti-corruption Measures

    LV0045, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  7. Public Participation in Decision-Making

    LV0028, 2017, Access to Information

  8. e-Legal Services

    LV0029, 2017, Access to Information

  9. Open Data

    LV0030, 2017, Access to Information

  10. Lobbying Transparency

    LV0031, 2017, Capacity Building

  11. Budget Transparency

    LV0032, 2017, E-Government

  12. Whistleblower Protections

    LV0033, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  13. Ethics in Public Management

    LV0034, 2017, Capacity Building

  14. Zero Bureaucracy

    LV0035, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  15. Open Public Procurement

    LV0036, 2017, Access to Information

  16. Transparency in State Management

    LV0037, 2017, Access to Information

  17. Beneficial Ownership

    LV0038, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  18. Evidence-Based Governance

    LV0039, 2017, Capacity Building

  19. Starred commitment Concept Note on Publishing Data

    LV0018, 2015, Access to Information

  20. Portal Drafting Legislature and Development of Planning Documents

    LV0019, 2015, E-Government

  21. Platform Unifying Gov. Webpages

    LV0020, 2015, E-Government

  22. Starred commitment Transparency of Selecting Candidates for the Boards and Councils of Public Entity Enterprises

    LV0021, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  23. Supervising Officials Responsible of Public Resources

    LV0022, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  24. Sustainable Model of Financing NGOs

    LV0023, 2015, Civic Space

  25. Starred commitment Online Collection of Signatures on Referenda

    LV0024, 2015, E-Government

  26. Draft Law on Protecting Whistleblowers

    LV0025, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  27. Assessment of the System of the Financing Political Parties

    LV0026, 2015, Political Integrity

  28. Code of Ethics and a Public Administration Employee’S Handbook for Public Sector

    LV0027, 2015, Capacity Building

  29. NGO Fund

    LV0001, 2012, Capacity Building

  30. Strengthen Social Partners

    LV0002, 2012, Public Participation

  31. Trade Union Law

    LV0003, 2012, Civic Space

  32. NGO Co-Working

    LV0004, 2012, Civic Space

  33. Public Engagement Model

    LV0005, 2012, Open Regulations

  34. Internet Access Points

    LV0006, 2012, E-Government

  35. Public Service Assessment

    LV0007, 2012, Public Service Delivery

  36. Enhancing e-services

    LV0008, 2012, E-Government

  37. Transport e-services

    LV0009, 2012, E-Government

  38. Asset Disclosure

    LV0010, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  39. Lobbying Law

    LV0011, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  40. Whistleblower Protection

    LV0012, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  41. Public Subsidy Control

    LV0013, 2012, Private Sector

  42. State Owned Enterprises Management

    LV0014, 2012, Private Sector

  43. Single Platform for Government Websites and Information

    LV0015, 2012, E-Government

  44. Online Broadcasting From the Cabinet and Parliament

    LV0016, 2012, E-Government

  45. Website For Public Participation

    LV0017, 2012, E-Government

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