European Public Accountability Mechanisms

The EuroPAM Methodology

EuroPAM is a primary data collection effort on transparency and accountability in the legal frameworks of European countries. It is part of an EU-funded digital whistleblowing project (DIGIWHIST) that aims to improve trust in governments and efficiency of public spending across Europe.

EuroPAM in-law data measures the comprehensiveness of a country’s legal framework in four spheres of administrative transparency and accountability: financial disclosure, conflict of interest, political finance, and freedom of information. Indicators for these mechanisms are based on internationally-accepted legal standards, established by organizations such as the World Bank, Article 19, Access Info Europe, Global Integrity, and the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. For public procurement, EuroPAM in-law data assesses both the extent of the procurement framework and its adherence to norms established by the European Commission.

To ensure the reliability of in-law data, a rigorous and systematic approach is applied to data collection and analysis. Researchers produce summaries of the legal provisions collected from primary source documents, in the original language where possible. In cases where further consultation is required to clarify legal codes, the data is sent to technical in-country experts for feedback on accuracy and relevance. Country experts are intended to have either in-depth legal knowledge of the mechanism being examined in a specific country or expertise in a related field. The final data is released in both quantitative and qualitative form for policy and research purposes. Several rounds of data collection are envisioned from 2012 onwards. The exception to this is public procurement, for which data collection began in 2015.

Scoring for political financing, financial disclosure, conflict of interest, and freedom of information

Data is quantified on a simple 0-1 scale, with most indicators falling into a binary of 0 or 1 that reflects whether a provision exists within the law. Scores for each country are then aggregated into categories for each mechanism, and an overall country score is produced on a 0-100 scale for each mechanism.

Scoring for public procurement

Scores for each country are aggregated into categories, and an overall country score is produced on a 0-100 scale. A more detailed scoring framework is employed that captures normative dimensions and is available here.

List of EuroPAM in-law indicators:

Qualitative data for the most current year of data collection is displayed on the website. Quantitative data for subcategories is displayed on the website for all years, but the underlying individual variables are only available for download. For financial disclosure and conflict of interest restrictions, two separate metrics have been applied in order to present a comprehensive picture of these mechanisms within countries.