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The Group of States against Corruption publishes its Third Round Evaluation Report on Norway
Strasbourg, 5 May 2009 – The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on Norway. The report has been made public following the agreement of the Norwegian authorities. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.
Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [theme I], GRECO finds that the provisions on corruption and trading in influence in the Norwegian Penal Code are of a high standard and fully in line with the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173) and its Additional Protocol (ETS 191). Nevertheless, to prevent possible problems in the application of the law in practice and to fine-tune existing provisions, GRECO recommends to give consideration to introducing a provision on aggravated trading in influence and to reconsider the use of juries in appeal cases involving aggravated corruption.
Concerning transparency of party funding [theme II], GRECO commends Norway for the changes which the legal framework for the funding of political parties underwent in 2006. However, further improvements are required in light of 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. First of all, the picture of the possible (financial) ties of parties as well as the manner in which the political parties spend public funding needs to be as comprehensive and easy to understand as possible. In addition to the current disclosure of income, parties should therefore also be required to provide further information on their expenditure, as well as their debts and assets. Furthermore, the current supervisory mechanism provides for a very limited and mainly formalistic supervision of party financing and relies too heavily on the media to detect and uncover possible dubious funding practices – a matter that needs to be addressed. Finally, the current system would benefit from the introduction of more flexible sanctions for violations of the Political Parties Act.
The report as a whole addresses 8 recommendations to Norway. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in the beginning of 2011, through its specific compliance procedure.