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Group of States against Corruption publishes report on “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

Press Release

Strasbourg, 30 August 2010The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, in which it finds a lack of effective implementation of the rules of party financing and the need for some legal improvements in the criminalisation of corruption.

The report focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [hyperlink to theme I report], GRECO recognises that – following legal reform of the Criminal Code – the criminal law of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” largely complies with the relevant provisions of the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. (ETS 173).

GRECO identified, however, some aspects of the law which fall short of the standards under review, including several loopholes in the trading in influence offence; the narrow range of possible perpetrators of private sector bribery and the requirement of dual criminality with respect to corruption offences committed abroad. It also stressed the potential for misuse involved in the defence of ‘effective regret’, which can be invoked when an offender reports a crime after its commission.

Concerning transparency of party funding [hyperlink to theme II report], GRECO stresses that, although the relevant legal framework of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” is well-developed and contains a number of strong features, there is in practice a lack of effective implementation of the rules on political financing. GRECO points out that this problem can be attributed to an extremely scattered and overall inefficient system of external supervision.

This, in turn, results in possible infringements to political financing rules not being prosecuted and ultimately sanctioned. Likewise, it is crucial for the credibility of the system that election expenditure limits are duly respected in practice, in particular, by establishing an adequate financial reference period during election campaigns, as well as by ensuring that goods and services granted at discount prices are properly identified and accounted for.

The report as a whole addresses 13 recommendations to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations, in the second half of 2011, through its specific compliance procedure.

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