Corruption has a real impact on our economy and on the countries Belgium trades with. The money lost each year not only does not create added value but also causes job losses, price increases for consumers and losses for businesses. The central position of our country within the European Union obliges us to lead the fight against corruption with a strengthened will.
For many years, Belgium has been engaged in the fight against corruption, in particular in its national and international business operations. It is a priority of the Belgian Government that was included in the National Business and Human Rights Action Plan, of which several actions unite the federal government and the regions with the same common objective. This priority is also reflected in the 2016-2019 National Safety Plan.
The fight against corruption requires the effort and commitment of public authorities, the private sector and civil society. Corruption is a threat to the proper functioning of our society, as well as to the competitive position of companies that comply with the rules.
SMEs represent a significant part of the entire private sector in Belgium and the European Union, in that they have a key role to play in ensuring responsible conduct in global value chains. Because of their size, they have a greater proximity to the citizens, hence an expectation in their societal approach.
The purpose of this booklet is to help SMEs by providing them with practical tools and practical examples to deal with corruption and initiate a virtuous internal process. This work represents the result of a close cooperation between the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines established within the Federal Public Service Economy, on the one hand, and the organizations representing the interests of the companies of our country, the Federation of Enterprises of Belgium and the Belgian Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, on the other hand.