On 20 April 2023, the members of the EPAC/EACN Board and Secretariat met at the Austrian Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAK) in Vienna, Austria, for a Board meeting. Following the resignation of Žydrūnas Bartkus from his position as President of EPAC/EACN upon the expiry of his national mandate as Director of the Special Investigation Service (STT) of the Republic of Lithuania at the end of March, the remaining members of the EPAC/EACN Board agreed to jointly continue the activities of the Board until a new President is elected. Elections will be held during the General Assembly at the next Annual Professional Conference scheduled in the second half of 2023.
“The Lithuanian STT (together with the Austrian BAK) will continue the functions of the EPAC/EACN Secretariat in the usual professional manner and will act as a point of contact for the members of the networks. The joint commitment by the members of the Board and all institutions involved demonstrates the strength and consistency of EPAC/EACN” said Egidijus Radzevičius, Deputy Director of the Lithuanian STT during the Board meeting. He also gave an update on the coordination and progress in the implementation of the EPAC/EACN best anti-corruption practice exchange project under the Union Anti-Fraud Programme (EUAF), which is being implemented by the Lithuanian STT on behalf of the EPAC/EACN community. More information on the Project can be found here.
The Board further discussed the preparations for a workshop on the topic of Whistleblowing which is scheduled to take place in autmn in Vienna. The workshop will be organized by the Austrian Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption in implementation of the funding by the European Commission. The aim of the workshop is to collaborate with organizations that are experts in the field of whistleblowing, such as NEIWA. There will be a limited number of participants for this workshop. However, the results of the workshop will be made available to all members.
The Board also discussed preparations for this year's EPAC/EACN Annual Professional Conference and General Assembly, which is planned to be organized in Ireland. The topics of the Conference will include the protection of the EU’s financial interests as well as whistleblower protection. The Board meeting concluded with an activity report from the Secretariat.
Over the past year and a half, EPAC/EACN achieved major milestones. During the first months, the newly elected EPAC/EACN Board adopted the EPAC/EACN Work Programme 2022-2023 and launched three task forces to further assist the networks’ activities. The task forces conducted analysis and policy advice, ensured transfer of knowledge and developed project activities. To contribute to the work of EPAC/EACN, an advanced training on Big Data Analysis took place in Vilnius for analysts from EPAC/EACN member agencies. In addition, an international Integrity Hackathon, trainings and webinars were organized for the EPAC/EACN community. The 21st EPAC/EACN Annual Professional Conference and General Assembly in 2022 in Chisinau, Moldova, gathered more than 200 participants from 24 different countries.
EPAC/EACN now has more than 100 members from 38 countries. In the last two years, the EPAC/EACN networks have grown to include new members from France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia and Ukraine, as well as a new observer – the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).