“Care of a family man”

Vatican Gardens: tree tops in front of St. Peter’s dome © Kiriusku (shutterstock)

Corruption and nepotism had cost the Vatican millions. Corona crisis also taking a financial toll. Now the Vatican has a new set of rules for contracts that should bring more transparency and efficiency.

The Vatican has launched a new set of rules for awarding public contracts. A corresponding decree of the Pope was published on Whit Monday. The code, which is based on common modern standards, is due to come into force on 1. July come into force.

The text of the law, which consists of about 100 articles, unifies the mode of awarding contracts for the Curia, the Vatican State and other institutions of the Holy See. The goal is to create greater transparency, more efficient administration, and a fair playing field for service providers and contractors. There are also extended control options for the judicial authorities.

Orientation to international standards

Francis justified the measures with the possibility of "significant cost savings". Vatican decision-makers must act with the "care of a family man" when awarding contracts, church leader warned. The new rules were based on proven international guidelines – such as the UN Convention against Corruption. In addition, they would take into account the special circumstances in the Vatican.

On the one hand, the reform comes against the backdrop of the current Corona crisis, which has caused the Vatican to lose millions and face additional cost-cutting constraints. On the other hand, the Pope has been trying for years to restructure the Vatican’s economic and financial system and make it more efficient. In the summer of 2018, for example, Francis had publicly called for a change of mentality in the administration of goods because he felt the necessary transparency was lacking.

Corruption and nepotism are not a recent phenomenon in the Vatican. A spotlight fell on the problem due to the Vatileaks scandal in 2011/2012. According to internal documents leaked to the media, cronyism was commonplace in services and contract awards, costing church leaders millions.

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