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Council of Europe anti-corruption body calls on states to increase transparency of political funding

Press Release

Strasbourg, 9 May 2012 – The Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today called on its member states to set up transparent systems for party and election campaign financing. In its annual activity report GRECO, while acknowledging an increase in regulatory efforts by states in this field, points out a number of shortcomings:

- The transparency of some sources of income of parties, such as donations in kind, party membership fees, loans or sponsorship are often neglected by the legislation.
- Anonymous donations are still possible in some countries.
- Legislation in many countries does not include local party bodies and other entities involved in election campaigns.
- Financial information is often not published in an easily accessible and timely way.
- A large number of states fail to have a truly independent supervisory body and in some states such a body does not exist or has limited functions.
- Sanctions are often weak, not flexible enough, limited in scope or not applied.

With regard to bribery and trading in influence offences, GRECO finds a high degree of compliance with the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. It stresses however that some states need to replace fragmented laws with comprehensive anti-corruption legislation.

Private sector bribery is a form of corruption that is not yet criminalised in some countries and where it is the sanctions are often weak. In many countries there is a tendency to treat some types of corruption more seriously than others. For example, the sanction of passive bribery in the public sector is often more severe than for the active side of the offence. In several states prosecutions in respect of corruption offences are rare.

Marin Mrčela, president of GRECO, said “in general states are taking important steps to fight corruption and increase the transparency of political funding, but many improvements are needed. Governments must commit both political will and adequate resources so corruption can be prevented and fought effectively”.

In 2012 GRECO will start examining a new field: corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom are the first countries under evaluation.

Link to the Annual activity report
Link to the Statement delivered by Mr Marin MRČELA, President of GRECO