GRECO Concerned About Widespread Graft Allegations

Published: 05 June 2020

Greco-logoGRECO (Group of States against Corruption) (Photo: GRECO)

By Zdravko Ljubas

The Council of Europe’s anti-graft body said it was concerned about allegations of widespread corruption among public officials in recent years, and that many member countries have mostly failed to properly address lobbying, conflicts of interest and “revolving doors” in central governments.

“No person, state or institution is immune to corruption,” said Marin Mrčela, President of GRECO (Group of States against Corruption), in the institution’s latest report, published on Wednesday.

He added that politicians, irrespective of their political affiliation, “need to lead by example” in that regard. The report commended a slight progress recorded in member states in complying with anti-graft recommendations in 2019, but stressed that more needs to be done.

Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, also stressed that the GRECO states “should step up their efforts to fully implement the body’s recommendations.”

“Implementing effective anti-corruption measures and promoting integrity and transparency should therefore be a priority for public authorities at all times,” she said.

The report, which reviews the measures to prevent corruption taken in GRECO’s member states in 2019 in respect of parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors, as well as in central governments, including top executive functions and law enforcement agencies, indicates that some countries were falling behind on battling corruption when it comes to MPs.

Improvements, according to the report, are also needed to prevent continuing attacks on the independence of the judiciary in some member states.

GRECO’s recommendations on law enforcement agencies referred mostly to codes of conduct, promotion and dismissal, conflicts of interest, post-employment restrictions, and the protection of whistleblowers.

The 2019 report shows that the body’s recommendations with the lowest level of compliance continued to be those “issued in respect of MPs (26%), whilst it was higher in respect of judges (36%) and prosecutors (47%).

“This explains to a large extent why people’s trust in politics is very low and will be even lower if politicians don’t step up their compliance with integrity standards,” GRECO’s President said.