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The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) publishes its Third Round Evaluation Report on the United Kingdom

[Strasbourg, 03/04/08] The Council of Europeís Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on the United Kingdom. The report, which was adopted on 15 February 2008, has been made public following the agreement of the authorities. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [theme I], GRECO recognises that overall, the criminal law of the United Kingdom complies with the relevant provisions of the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173). Nonetheless, GRECO encourages the authorities to establish an entirely coherent legal framework for corruption offences and, in the on-going reform process, to review their position regarding two reservations in respect of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, notably through the criminalisation of trading in influence.

Concerning transparency of party funding [theme II], the existing legal system of the United Kingdom is of a high standard and is, to a large degree, also in line with the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns. The existing Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 constitutes a solid framework in respect of transparency and control of party funding. However, following certain criticisms and public debate in the United Kingdom, this law has already been revised and GRECO invites the country to undertake further measures. Public trust could be strengthened if the United Kingdom would further strengthen the transparency requirements on political parties, candidates and third parties, confer a more proactive role on the Electoral Commission and introduce more flexible sanctions for less serious violations of the political financing rules.

The report as a whole addresses 8 recommendations to the United Kingdom. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations towards the end of 2009, through its specific compliance procedure.