Tunisia: Twinning project for the benefit of the Tunisian Anti-Corruption Authority

Fighting corruption has been part of the EU's internal and external policies for years. Within the framework of the European anti-corruption strategy, cooperation projects to prevent and prosecute corruption are also being carried out with potential accession countries and EU neighbouring countries. In this context, the "Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA)" and the "European Neighbourhood Initiative (ENI)" are particularly worth mentioning. Under this umbrella, so-called "twinning projects" aim to strengthen the administrative capacities of a partner country’s public administration, mainly by supporting the optimisation of its structures, by training its staff, and by promoting "best practice". Harmonisation of national laws, regulations and quality standards with those of EU member states is also sought to strengthen the common ground. 

Over the past years, IRZ has implemented numerous EU-funded projects to prevent and combat corruption in various countries, including the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. IRZ's first twinning project with Zambia, a twinning project to strengthen Zambia’s national anti-corruption authority - together with Finnland (HAUS)- started in August 2021. 

In March 2021, IRZ, together with France (Expertise France, Agence Française Anticorruption) and Romania (Direction Générale Anticorruption), applied for a call for tender for an EU twinning project with the Tunisian Instance Nationale de Lutte contre la Corruption. In May 2021, the consortium was awarded the contract. 

The aim of the cooperation project is to analyse the Tunisian institutional system for fighting corruption, including the distribution of competences and tasks with a view to coordinating and increasing the efficiency of the work of the national anti-corruption authority INLUCC. The project builds on previous funding measures. 

The project comprises five components. The first one aims at reviewing the regulatory framework to enable harmonisation with the provisions of the European Union. Subsequently, proposals for revision are to be submitted to the Tunisian Parliament. International agreements and the requirements arising from Tunisia's membership of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) will be taken into account. In order to accompany the process of incorporating the amendments into the codes and regulations, to support the revision of the regulatory framework and to ensure the support of stakeholders, information and training events will be organised for the institutions and stakeholders concerned in accordance with the priorities. 

Another component of the project serves to increase institutional as well as personnel capacities of the Tunisian anti-corruption authority and to improve coordination between the authorities involved. Based on the assessment carried out, joint working groups and interviews with INLUCC staff (and other stakeholders as appropriate) will be organised to adapt the organisation of work. The aim is to promote cooperation mechanisms between Tunisian institutions involved in the prevention and detection of corruption, taking into account the Tunisian context and the realities of the situation. 

Another task of the project is to simplify and increase the transparency of administrative procedures that are vulnerable to corruption by the private sector due to their duration and complexity. The aim is to improve those procedures where corruption results in a high loss of funds in terms of volume, but also those where the loss of funds is due to the frequency of acts. 

Last but not least, the development of a strategy, and embedded in it, awareness and education campaigns for citizens should contribute to a no-tolerance culture with regard to corruption. To this end, working groups of experts from public institutions, will develop strategies and implementation mechanisms to promote an anti-corruption culture, with the involvement of civil society representatives (citizens, NGOs, academia, etc.). 

Due to pandemic complications and against the background of current political developments in Tunisia, an EU decision on the actual project start is expected in early 2022.