Group of States against corruption (GRECO)

Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Greece

Press Release

Strasbourg, 7 July 2010The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Greece, in which it criticises its criminal legislation as being excessively complex and finds that the transparency of the funding of political parties and election campaigns needs to be improved.

The report focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding, and addresses 27 recommendations to Greece. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in 2012.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption (link to the report), GRECO concludes that Greek criminal legislation covers all offences of corruption and trading in influence criminalised by the Council of Europe Criminal Convention on Corruption and its Additional Protocol. However, the consistency and effectiveness of their application are affected by the complexity of the legal framework.

GRECO finds a number of shortcomings in the provisions on bribery of domestic, foreign and international judges, arbitrators, jurors and members of public assemblies, as well as procedural obstacles to an effective fight against corruption. GRECO recommends, for example, abolishing the special shorter limitation period for prosecuting corruption offences committed by members and former members of government and removing the possibility to postpone or suspend prosecution of ‘political acts’ and ‘offences through which international relations of the State may be disturbed’.

Concerning transparency of party funding (link to the report), GRECO acknowledges that Greece has a fairly comprehensive framework on the funding of political parties. However, it concludes that more transparency in this area is needed, in particular by ensuring a more accurate recording of financial activities during election campaigns. GRECO recommends abolishing the possibility of using anonymous coupons for donations, introducing a requirement that all donations above a certain value are made by bank transfer and ensuring that information on the financing of political parties and election campaigns be published in a timely manner.

Above all, GRECO criticises the inefficient and opaque supervision of the funding of political parties and election campaigns, which may have contributed to the general mistrust in the system of political financing. As a matter of priority, GRECO recommends improving the supervision in this field, by strengthening the independence of the Control Committee responsible for this task, ensuring more substantial and ongoing monitoring, and reinforcing control over the financing of local and regional elections.

Additional information on GRECO evaluation rounds and reports

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a monitoring body established by the Council of Europe in order to improve the capacity of countries to prevent and combat corruption. It includes all the Council of Europe member states – with the exception of San Marino – and the United States of America.