GRECO, in its 21st General Activity Report, states that Governments should rigorously manage the corruption risks that have emerged due to the need to take extraordinary measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the infusion of large amounts of money into the economy to alleviate its economic and social impact.
GRECO underlines that for more than one year now governments have had to put in place emergency measures that have implied concentrations of powers and derogations of fundamental rights, measures which go hand in hand with corruption risks that should not be underestimated. In the context of the pandemic, GRECO’s president Marin Mrčela had called on states to closely follow the guidelines issued by GRECO in 2020 to prevent corruption risks.
Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić said: “In the challenging times we face, governments should step up their efforts to ensure that all policies and actions aimed at addressing the public health and economic crises meet anti-corruption standards. Adequate legislation and institutional frameworks to combat corruption are not enough. We must see these standards applied effectively in practice, and governments must act with transparency and accountability”.
The report reviews the measures to prevent corruption taken in GRECO’s member states in 2020 in its 4th round evaluation – which concerns parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors - and its 5th evaluation round, which focuses on central governments – including top executive functions - and law enforcement agencies. Full statistics are available.
The 5th evaluation round was fully underway by the end of the year, with evaluation reports on 21 states already completed. Key results in most of the countries evaluated were the adoption or revision of codes of conduct for top executive functions, while one of the major challenges observed was the collection of official information in line with freedom of information laws. Topics such as lobbying, conflicts of interest and “revolving doors” are addressed in the General Activity Report, as well as analyses of the main anti-corruption issues relevant to law enforcement agencies (anti-corruption and integrity policies, human resources policies and the protection of whistleblowers).
The report features an article by the EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.
The 20th General Activity Report reviews the measures to prevent corruption taken in GRECO’s member states in 2019 in respect of parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors, as well as in central governments – including top executive functions - and law enforcement agencies. GRECO’s 20th Anniversary has marked the consecration of its expertise in the field of the fight against corruption, gained over the years.
Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić stated: “Corruption undermines citizens’ trust in democracy and in democratic institutions. Implementing effective anti-corruption measures and promoting integrity and transparency should therefore be a priority for public authorities at all times. States have made progress, but they should step up their efforts to fully implement GRECO´s recommendations”.
The report focuses mainly on the 4th evaluation round (since 2012, nearly half of GRECO’s member states have carried out constitutional reforms following its recommendations) and on the 5th evaluation round (18 countries evaluated by the end of 2019, highlighting for example shortcomings in the way countries dealt with lobbying, conflicts of interest and “revolving doors” in central governments ; and concerning law enforcement agencies, themes such as codes of conduct, conflicts of interest, protection of whistleblowers etc.).
Some member States are subject to GRECO’s 4th round non-compliance procedure ; a new advisory function has been added to GRECO’s mandate during the 20th anniversary high-level conference. This year, the feature article has been dedicated to the European Public Prosecutor Office.
In its annual report, GRECO reviews action taken by its 49 member states against corruption in 2018, notably in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors, as well as its most recent evaluation round focusing on preventing corruption in central governments and law enforcement agencies.
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said: “Corruption has devastating consequences for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Overall our member states have made progress to put in place measures to prevent and combat corruption, but much more needs to be done. GRECO´s recommendations are not optional. Governments, parliamentarians and other national authorities should show their commitment to fighting corruption by fully implementing GRECO´s recommendations”.
Adopted by GRECO 79 (Strasbourg, on 19-23 March 2018)
It deals with Anti-corruption trends, challenges and good practices in Europe and the United States of America.
It includes a feature article: "Journalists are defenceless while corruption is armed" by Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia.
Summary Analysis of Selected Private Sector Bribery Cases, by Sophie Meudal-Leenders (GRECO Secretariat) Mari-Liis Sööt (Head of the Estonian Delegation in GRECO)
Report on Trends and Conclusions of Fourth Evaluation Round in the field of Corruption Prevention of MPs, Judges and Prosecutors
On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the 20 Guiding Principles for the Fight against Corruption, GRECO has published this study on “Corruption Prevention of Members of Parliament, Judges and Prosecutors (Fourth Evaluation Round) – Conclusions and Trends”.
The Report was officially presented at a Conference on “Lessons learned from GRECO’s Fourth Evaluation Round” (under the motto Go for Zero Corruption”), which was held in Prague on 9-10 November 2017.
The Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe (GRECO) has called on European governments, parliaments and judicial governing bodies to step up their efforts to create more effective preventive mechanisms against corruption.
In its current annual report, GRECO provides a review of its 49 member states action against corruption in 2016, and points out that countries too often over-rely on the repressive aspects of fighting corruption and underestimate the effectiveness of preventive mechanisms, which often do not exist or are too weak.
Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said: “Corruption is a major source of dissatisfaction and loss of trust in politics and democratic institutions. It is crucial that states have the right legislation and resources not only to investigate and punish corruption offences, but also to prevent them. There can be no tolerance for corruption, wherever it occurs.”
Adopted by GRECO 71
Strasbourg, 14-18 March 2016
This report records the principal elements of our work at the end of a very demanding year. The need to reassure the citizens of our member States and build up – sometimes even recast – confidence in national institutions, systems and decision makers has seemed particularly pressing in recent times.
Marin MRČELA, Justice at the Supreme Court of Croatia, President of GRECO
As a first proposition GRECO Round III evaluation reports disclose a generally good standard of compliance with the obligations laid down in ETS No. 173 and No. 191. The GRECO evaluation teams (“GET”) discovered a very high degree of conformity with those obligations in the laws of Hungary, Malta, and Norway, for example. The reports do not pass judgment on the choice of model of criminal law unless it has a direct impact on the suitability of the law to equip the authorities to tackle corruption.
By 1 November 2011, in its third evaluation round focusing on the transparency of political party funding, the Group of States against Corruption, established by the Council of Europe, had examined the legislation of 39 of the Group’s 49 member states. The data collected by the GRECO evaluation teams (GET), which had hitherto been the preserve of academics, are first of all a unique source of information on what is a fairly recent body of regulations in the history of European democracies.
On 1 January 2012, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), an enlarged agreement within the Council of Europe, will officially enter into its Fourth Round of mutual evaluations. The three evaluation rounds conducted between 2000 and 2011 assessed GRECO member States’ compliance with selected provisions from key Council of Europe legal texts, namely Resolution (97) 24 of the Committee of Ministers on the Twenty Guiding Principles for the fight against corruption, the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173), and Recommendation Rec(2003)4 of the Committee of Ministers on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns.