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Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Hungary

Press Release

Strasbourg, 29 July 2010The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on Hungary. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [hyperlink to theme I report], the Hungarian legislation is to a large extent in conformity with the requirements of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. However, the report also notes shortcomings as regards foreign passive bribery in the private sector and the scope of the offence of trading in influence, which appears more limited than is required by the Convention. GRECO also calls for Hungary to swiftly ratify the Additional Protocol to the Convention and to clarify the criminalisation of domestic arbitrators. Lastly, some procedural adjustments are required, namely an extention of the limitation period for the prosecution of certain bribery and trading in influence offences and a review of the special defence of “effective regret” in order to minimise risks of abuse.

Concerning transparency of party funding [hyperlink to theme II report], GRECO notes that although the Hungarian legislation is, on paper, of a relatively good standard, in practice it lacks effective application. This, in turn, has led to strong mistrust in the system of political financing. The absence of transparency in the financing of election campaigns is an area of particular concern in the light of plausible evidence that a great majority of such funding is not accounted for or reported at all in Hungary. In order to enhance the credibility of the system, the control performed by the State Audit over political financing must be considerably sharpened through more frequent and swift audits and by adopting a genuinely proactive approach. It is also essential that the financial discipline of political parties be strengthened, in particular by establishing clear rules obliging political parties to keep proper books and accounts and by subjecting them to independent audit. Lastly, GRECO calls for appropriate sanctions for the violation of funding rules.

The report as a whole addresses 15 recommendations to Hungary. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations in 2012 through its specific compliance procedure.

Additional information on GRECO evaluation rounds and reports

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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.