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Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) publishes report on Poland

[Strasbourg, 17/02/09] - The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Poland. 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], GRECO recognises that, on the whole, Polish legislation complies with the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173) and its Additional Protocol (ETS 191). GRECO acknowledges the legislative measures undertaken, including recent amendments relating to private sector bribery.

Nevertheless, GRECO calls on Poland to address some deficiencies identified in the current legislation, regarding among other issues, the applicability of corruption offences to foreign arbitrators as defined by the Additional Protocol to the Convention, the jurisdiction over corruption offences committed abroad and the potential of misuse involved in the defence of ‘effective regret’, which occurs when an offender reports a crime after its commission.
Moreover, further efforts are needed to significantly reduce the occurrence of corruption in Poland, all the more so as new types of corruption have recently been identified by the authorities in areas such as sport and the private sector, where only a few cases have been investigated so far.

Concerning transparency of party funding [Theme II], the existing legal and institutional framework is well-developed and largely in line with the provisions 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. However, it appears that the system of political financing suffers from a lack of substantial and pro-active monitoring to go beyond the formal examination of submitted information.

The National Electoral Commission clearly requires more powers and resources in order to detect illegal practice and bypassing of transparency rules. Furthermore, current legislation needs to be upgraded in some areas in order to increase the level of disclosure obligations and to align the law on the election of the President of the Republic with the standards set by the other existing election laws.

The report as a whole addresses 13 recommendations to Poland. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in the second half of 2010, through its specific compliance procedure.