Group of States against corruption (GRECO)

International Anti-Corruption Day

GRECO President Drago Kos: “We need further cooperation with the EU in the fight against corruption”

Strasbourg, 9 December 2010 –  Drago Kos, President of the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption, today issued the following statement to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day:
“Many citizens in Europe and elsewhere in the world experience the scourge of corruption in their everyday lives – and it hits the vulnerable particularly hard. However, the consequences of corruption reach far beyond the individual.

For democracy and the rule of law to operate properly, citizens must be able to trust their politicians, judges, police officers and others exercising authority. Trust – along with the fairness of competition – is also the basis of a well functioning economy. Corruption undermines this trust and gives rise to predatory behaviour and cynicism.

Widely known corruption indices, including those produced by the World Bank and Transparency International, as well as the evidence gathered by the Group of States against Corruption, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption watchdog, clearly indicate that corruption is a continuing, and even growing concern. This is all the more true as the persistent economic and financial crisis with its harmful impact on prosperity and employment, is also bound to make the life of all those who wish to play by the rules more difficult.

As corruption increasingly goes global, international networking is more and more important. Sustained efforts must be made to further develop cooperation among international stakeholders who all share the belief that the need to combat corruption is as pressing as ever.

The 9th of December is a good opportunity to remind us of this necessity.

For GRECO, co-operation with the European Union is of primary importance. Combining our extensive experience in anti-corruption monitoring and the European Union’s political leverage will no doubt strengthen the impact of our endeavours to fight corruption and to promote integrity throughout the European continent and beyond.

I very much hope that accession of the European Union to GRECO will soon become a reality. The Stockholm Programme has brought this promising perspective back onto the agenda. We will do everything possible to make sure that this unique opportunity is not lost.

Improved international co-operation is however not a substitute for a clear commitment, at the highest political level by our member states, to fight corruption with determination and not just with solemn declarations”.