The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor States’ compliance with the organisation’s anti-corruption standards.
GRECO’s objective is to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. It helps to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. GRECO also provides a platform for the sharing of best practice in the prevention and detection of corruption.
Membership in GRECO, which is an enlarged agreement, is not limited to Council of Europe member States. Any State which took part in the elaboration of the enlarged partial agreement, may join by notifying the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Moreover, any State which becomes Party to the Criminal or Civil Law Conventions on Corruption automatically accedes to GRECO and its evaluation procedures. Currently, GRECO comprises 50 member States (48 European States, Kazakhstan and the United States of America).
The functioning of GRECO is governed by its Statute and Rules of Procedure. Each member State appoints up to two representatives who participate in GRECO plenary meetings with a right to vote; each member also provides GRECO with a list of experts available for taking part in GRECO’s evaluations. Other Council of Europe bodies may also appoint representatives (e.g. the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe). GRECO has granted observer status to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations – represented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). GRECO elects its President, Vice-President and members of its Bureau who play an important role in designing GRECO’s work programme and supervising the evaluation procedures.
GRECO’s Statutory Committee is composed of representatives on the Committee of Ministers of member States which have joined GRECO and of representatives specifically designated by other members of GRECO. It is competent for adopting GRECO’s budget. It is also empowered to issue a public statement if it considers that a member takes insufficient action in respect of the recommendations addressed to it.
GRECO’s Statute defines a master-type procedure, which can be adapted to the different legal instruments under review (see “How does GRECO work”).
GRECO, which has its seat in Strasbourg, is assisted by a Secretariat, headed by an Executive Secretary, provided by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.