Lisbon city council to lead by example with new anti-corruption department

  • Lusa
  • 16 December 2022

Carlos Moedas took up the challenge of making the Portuguese capital "lead by example" in transparency and the fight against corruption, with the creation of a municipal department for this purpose.

The mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas (PSD-Social Democratic Party), on Friday took up the challenge of making the Portuguese capital “lead by example” in transparency and the fight against corruption, with the creation of a municipal department for this purpose.

“The PSD mayor said he was “very saddened” by the recent situation in the European Parliament, with the arrest of Greek MEP Eva Kaili following suspicions of corruption.

Carlos Moedas was speaking at the opening of a debate on “how to achieve transparency and prevention of corruption in the Lisbon city council”, which took place in Teatro Aberto with the participation of Joana Almeida, councillor for urbanism and transparency, who was elected as an independent from the PSD/CDS-PP/MPT/PPM/Alliance coalition.

At the end of his speech, in statements to journalists, the mayor of Lisbon stressed the importance of this conference on corruption prevention.

“We are living a very difficult moment with Europe. I am very sad to see this situation in the European Parliament. The European Parliament, too, was my home. A situation like this of corruption, we have to fight it at all levels, and the first level is the municipal level and the municipality level, and the Lisbon city council will, for the first time, launch a department for corruption prevention and transparency. It is the first time that this will exist in Lisbon and, therefore, it is a moment to mark”, he declared.

Earlier, during his speech of about 20 minutes, Carlos Moedas called what allegedly happened in the house of European democracy “a scandal”.

“This shows once again what I have always said as a politician, which is the permeability that we have today in the institutions to corruption,” said the mayor, noting that this scandal joins so many others, “that have destroyed the country, […] involving prime ministers, ministers, MPs, mayors.”

The social democrat said that there is “a deep crisis in ethics, in politics”, which is leading ordinary citizens to turn away, due to a loss of confidence, because of “major cases of corruption, which reflect inadmissible behaviour and practices that are incompatible with democracy and which undermine this confidence”.

In this sense, Carlos Moedas defended that, first of all, we need more ethics in politics, understanding that “politicians are people like any other, but politicians have to give a greater example than other people”, and that this also involves the fulfilment of electoral programmes.

The mayor of Lisbon also pointed out the need to have rules, because “ethics depends on rules”, something that he believes exists in the United States, where the rules are written down.

“One of the problems many times in Europe, perhaps because we are very old nations, is that we think that it is not necessary to write the rule, that people, by their common sense, by their way of being, will understand that this should be the rule that is not written”, indicated the mayor, defending that everything has to be written.

For this same reason, the city council has launched the Code of Ethics and Conduct of the Municipality of Lisbon, which has an impact “even in terms of meritocracy”, in which “the person who complies with the rule is within the framework to go up, with his merit, within the organisation”.

Carlos Moedas also reinforced the work of the municipality to guarantee “more transparency”, including in the procedures in the area of town planning, which “had never happened before”, and added that one of the problems of politicians is that transparency also “shows wounds”.

“The first step is also, politically, to accept that we are not perfect, that we can make mistakes, but that these mistakes are transparent, and that we will answer for them”, he said.

This week, Lisbon city council launched the Reporting Channel, “which allows everyone directly or indirectly connected to the municipality to report and alert to situations that are not normal”, and the Transparency Portal, which provides information on various topics related to municipal management.

In this context, the municipal executive is working on the creation of a municipal department of transparency and fight against corruption, to prevent situations of non-compliance, which is a priority, and therefore has to “happen quickly”, allowing Lisbon to “lead by example”, in which ethical errors and corrupt situations are inadmissible.