Europe Urges Greece to “Do Better” on Anti-Graft Measures

The Council of Europe has told Greece to improve anti-graft efforts in the legislative and judicial branches and to enhance transparency of party financing, according to two reports released Thursday.

700px-Flag of the Council of Europe.svg copyCouncil of Europe Flag (Source: Council of Europe, Public Domain)The Strasbourg-based Council has no legal power, but is widely regarded for its monitoring and assessment of the health of European democracies.

The CoE praised Greece for adopting a Code of Conduct for lawmakers which regulates conflict of interest and gifts as well as the increased transparency and a broadened scope for declaration of assets, income and interest.

However, in one report the Council’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) committee, outlined issues with the expediency of parliament, and with the denials to lift immunity from politicians that outnumber the approvals to do so.

Other flags were raised for a lack of clear professional standards for judges and prosecutors.

In the second report on financing, the Council criticized Greece for reinstating anonymous donations to campaigns, which it had previously banned.

“The approach followed in Greece, with multiple, often divergent legal changes within short periods of time, creates an unpredictable legal framework which may result in ineffective implementation and a substantial lack of transparency,” according to the report.

Many blame the financial crisis that gripped Greece in the past few years on corruption, and endemic tax evasion.

Transparency International ranked Greece 69th out of 180 countries listed in its corruption perception index for 2017. 

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who came to power in 2015, promised to end austerity and crack down on corruption.