Group of States against corruption (GRECO)


Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Germany

Press Release

Strasbourg, 9 December 2009 - The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Germany, following the authorisation by the German authorities. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding. The key conclusions are the following:

Practitioners in charge of investigating and prosecuting corruption in Germany are deploying real efforts to make best use of the legal tools currently at their disposal. However, despite Germany’s economic power, the legal tools for investigating and prosecuting corruption are subject to certain limitations when it comes to dealing with cross border forms of corruption.

It is regrettable that during the last legislature the federal parliament did not manage to adopt the draft act on revision of the anti-corruption provisions. This draft law was presented in 2007 and would have enabled Germany to ratify the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173) and its Additional Protocol (ETS 191), as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

A particular source of concern is the fact that certain categories of persons are subject to limited anti-corruption provisions. This could generate the impression within the wider public that parts of German society are not subject to the same rules as the rest of the population, when it comes to the preservation of integrity in social, political and business relations.

GRECO urges Germany to complement the existing legal anti-corruption provisions with a view to broadening the incrimination of active and passive bribery of parliamentarians, foreign public officials and persons employed at international level. It also calls on the German authorities to broaden the incrimination of bribery in the private sector, criminalise trading in influence and harmonise and extend the rules on the jurisdiction of Germany for corruption offences.

Germany has opted for a liberal model of political financing. However, to a great extent the Political Parties Act has implemented the Council of Europe Recommendation Rec(2003)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns. This being said, German legislation needs to be adjusted in order to better deal with associations of voters.

The increasing practice of sponsoring will also need to be re-examined. Furthermore, despite undeniable efforts to strengthen the transparency of political parties' financial activities, relevant financial information is available to the general public only after significant delays of up to two years.

The supervision exerted by the Federal Parliament is a great source of concern for GRECO. There is an urgent need to review the situation of members of parliament as regards the financing of their political activity and to subject them to stricter rules concerning the receipt of support from private sources (especially given the current gaps in the criminalisation of corruption involving members of parliament).

The report addresses a total of 20 recommendations to Germany. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in the second half of 2011, through its specific compliance procedure.

Link to the report: Thème I et Thème II

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