Group of States against corruption (GRECO)

The Group of States against Corruption publishes its first report on Italy

Press release

Strasbourg, 16 October 2009 - The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Joint First and Second Round Evaluation Report on Italy [hyperlink to report].

The report as a whole addresses 22 recommendations to Italy. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in the second half of 2011 through its specific compliance procedure.

The report indicates that despite the clear commitment of judges and prosecutors to fighting corruption, this phenomenon is perceived, in Italy, as pervasive and systemic, with numerous sectors of activity being affected (in particular, urban planning, waste management, public procurement and the health sector).

It also points at the need to articulate an effective preventive policy on corruption, which will require a long-term approach and sustained political commitment. As GRECO stresses, combating corruption must become a matter of culture and not only rules.

Further measures are recommended to tackle the excessive length of judicial proceedings, to improve access to official documents, and to strengthen the transparency and ethics of public administration. All this is of particular relevance with respect to internal auditing, the enforceability of deontological provisions, the prevention of conflicts of interest and whistleblower protection.

The report also expresses concerns at the immunities enjoyed by certain holders of public office, which were recently introduced by Law 124/2008, the so-called “Lodo Alfano”.

In the private sector, it remains crucial to toughen the accounting and auditing obligations for all types of companies and to ensure that the corresponding sanctions are effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Italy joined GRECO in 2007. In 1999, it signed the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, but has not yet ratified it.