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Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) publishes report on Sweden
[Strasbourg, 31/03/09] – The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on Sweden. The report has been made public with the agreement of the country’s authorities. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.
Regarding the criminalisation of corruption (Theme I, link to the report), GRECO recognises that Swedish legislation on bribery complies in a strict legal sense with the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and its Additional Protocol; however, it notes that the rather general legislation and limited practice, makes it difficult to foresee all its consequences. Moreover, the offence trading in influence is not criminalised as such under Swedish law. GRECO stresses that current legislation, which for several years has been subject to domestic criticism, would benefit from a revision in respect of public and private sector corruption. Making trading in influence a separate offence and widening the possibilities for prosecuting corruption offences committed abroad should also be considered. Following the adoption of the Report, GRECO was informed that on 19 March 2009, the Swedish Government entrusted the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mr Bo Svensson, with the task of carrying out a study with a view to modernising current anti-corruption legislation.
Concerning transparency of party funding (Theme II, link to the report), the Swedish system falls short of the standards provided for in Recommendation Rec(2003)4 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns. Sweden’s long standing tradition of self regulation in this area neither provides for a sufficiently broad and comprehensive approach, nor is there an independent monitoring mechanism in place and there are no particular sanctions or other means for the enforcement of the few principles that have been agreed upon by the political parties represented in Riksdagen. Consequently, it is difficult to assess the flow of private donations to political parties. In GRECO’s view, the generally low level of transparency in political financing is difficult to understand in respect of a country, which guarantees a high degree of transparency in most areas of public life. The current system needs to be reviewed in order to comply with Council of Europe standards.
The report addresses a total of 10 recommendations to Sweden. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in the second half of 2010, through its specific compliance procedure.