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Statement by Mr Drago KOS, President of the Group of States against Corruption, on the occasion of the International Anti-corruption Day, 9 December

Video message

As Chairman of the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption I welcome the fact that people in Europe and around the world grow increasingly wary of bribery, abuse of public office and corrupt business practices – and expect high standards of integrity from public officials, elected representatives and business leaders.

It is an important step in the right direction that more and more countries adopt comprehensive anti-corruption legislation, in line with international standards.

Despite numerous achievements it is clear to us and to our partners in international organisations – the OECD, the United Nations, the European Union and the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network - that corruption still remains a plague. It is estimated that nearly a trillion euros in bribes is paid each year.

There is evidence that high levels of corruption still permeate society and public institutions in some of our countries.

It is disturbing to realise that renowned companies have been found to have paid massive bribes to win or retain business.

This mixed picture clearly compels us to remain vigilant, to vigorously support compliance with high standards of integrity, and to fight impunity where it occurs.

The current global situation requires us to pool our efforts together. We have to acknowledge that it is too early to be satisfied with the current state of anti-corruption endeavours in Europe and around the world.

The 9th of December is a good opportunity to remind us of this.