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Iceland urged to further strengthen anti-corruption measures

Press Release

Strasbourg, 28 March 2013 – Due to its unique circumstances, Iceland faces particular challenges in preventing corruption among its key institutions. Significant improvements have been made recently, notably since the collapse of the banking system, but there is still work to be done.
 
These are the main findings of an evaluation report published today by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which focuses on anti-corruption measures among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors.
 
The report noted that Iceland’s small population size and remote location mean that interlinked personal and professional relationships can give rise to conflicts of interest. It also highlighted the ongoing re-appraisal of the informal checks and balances in Icelandic society and the concepts of transparency and corruption following the banking collapse in 2008.
 
GRECO welcomed the fact that that improvements have been made to rules on parliamentarians’ financial declarations, and that a code of conduct is currently being drawn up. However, GRECO considers that further steps are needed to fully acknowledge and address anti-corruption measures in parliament, and to increase public confidence in the institution.
 
The report also noted that the appointment of judges has been made more transparent, but regulations to prevent conflicts of interest among the judiciary could be broadened in scope. Steps could also be taken to increase the independence of prosecution services, for example by introducing a system to enable greater independence and impartiality of prosecutorial decisions at district level.
 Today’s report has been published with the agreement of the Icelandic authorities, which should report back on measures taken to implement the ten recommendations included in the report within eighteen months.