Herwig VAN STAA (Austria, EPP/CCE), Congress spokesperson on promoting public ethics and preventing corruption at the local and regional levels, addressed the Regional conference on “Corruption-free Cities of the Future”, on 7 December 2017, in Tirana (Albania). “There are no corruption-free zones in Europe. Corruption poses a major threat to the legitimacy of our democratic institutions, our towns cities and regions, as well as to the trust that our citizens put in their representatives”, Congress spokesperson stated, underlining the need to pool of efforts and resources at all levels of governance – European, national, regional and local – to be more efficient. Regarding the corruption impact on local governments and the role of local authorities in the fight against corruption, Mr VAN STAA expressed a more nuanced opinion. Even though he claimed that decentralisation can narrow the scope for corruption, given that politicians and public officials at subnational levels are more accountable to the citizens they serve and can be more in touch with the specific needs of their cities, he highlighted that there may equally be greater opportunities to corruption at the local levels. “With greater vested interests, including family, friendship and business ties, decision-making can be unduly influenced and this is well-illustrated by the existence of informal power networks and the “revolving door” phenomenon”, Herwig VAN STAA concluded.