Responding to the Conflict of Interest Risks in Central and Eastern Europe: Case of Slovenia
Prohibition of conflict of interest prevents abuses of the rule of law in modern constitutional democracies. As a result, is ensures that persons working in state institutions do not use their posts and functions for private gain. The experience from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) illustrates that state authorities have in the past faced challenges in how to internalise the prohibition of conflict of interest. Literature from CEE on the prohibition of conflict of interest has been scarse. Consequently, this paper aims to address this gap by examining the experience of the Slovenian state in coping with the risks arising from conflict of interest. It discusses and analyses on one hand theoretical and normative underpinnings of the prohibition of conflict of interest in the Slovenian, European and international frameworks. On the other hand, it examines the recent practice of administrative and judicial bodies concerning the prohibition of conflict of interest. It finds that normative frameworks in the Slovenian constitutional framework have been reformed in recent years. Nonetheless, there is still a risk of potential and actual conflict of interest for the implementation of the rule of law in state institutions. The normative prohibition appears not to have been fully internalised in the practice of state institutions. As a result, the authors submit that state institutions should not turn a blind eye to the risk of conflict of interest in order to show willingness to strengthen the rule of law in the Slovenian constitutional democracy. The Slovenian normative and empirical experience shows lessons that can be taken up in the constitutional democracies of Central and Eastern Europe experiencing similar challenges.