In an evaluation report published today, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) calls on Spain to develop a comprehensive anticorruption strategy, and to improve its legal framework to prevent corruption in top governmental functions and law enforcement agencies. This report was published together with a compliance report acknowledging Spain’s progress in the implementation of its recommendations on corruption prevention in respect of parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors, but also calling for further progress.
The report on corruption prevention among top executive functions of government and law enforcement agencies acknowledges that the Spanish authorities have made positive efforts in recent years to adopt and amend anticorruption laws and regulations; however, oversight and accountability are their weakest aspect. Currently, a wide gap exists between the legislation and its implementation in practice.
GRECO recommends making determined improvements on transparency and conflict of interest prevention for high ranking government officials, including political advisors – a category of persons which currently falls into a grey area. It also states that the independence, powers and resources of the Office for the Conflict of Interest (Oficina de Conflictos de Intereses) and the Council for Transparency and Good Governance (Consejo de Transparencia y Buen Gobierno) must be significantly upgraded.
Furthermore, GRECO also calls for stricter rules and procedures to deal with risks of revolving doors when government officials leave their functions to work in the private sector and lobbying. Likewise, the system for criminal responsibility of top officials (aforamiento) should be reviewed.
As regards law enforcement agencies, GRECO also calls on the National Police and the Civil Guard to improve their internal corruption prevention mechanisms, particularly through better assessment and management of risks and the reinforcement of ethical standards and their communication on a daily basis. Greater transparency, objectivity and fairness are recommended in relation to career-related processes and the allocation of bonuses, medals and other benefits.
Finally, GRECO recommends some improvements in whistleblower protection in law enforcement agencies, whilst regretting that a comprehensive and effective framework for the protection of whistleblowers is yet to be introduced in Spain.
GRECO trusts that the 19 recommendations included in its report will assist the Spanish government in its anticorruption agenda. The implementation of these recommendations will be assessed by GRECO in 2021.
In its follow up report evaluating progress on the implementation of the 11 recommendations concerning parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors issued in a 2013 evaluation report, GRECO concludes that due to the progress achieved, Spain´s level of compliance is no longer “globally unsatisfactory” and therefore no longer subject to its non-compliance procedure.
This positive development has taken place following the steps of Parliament to enhance its integrity framework by adopting ethical standards and coupling them with a dedicated body for their implementation. Additional disclosure requirements for deputies have been introduced. Nevertheless, GRECO expects more determined action regarding lobbying regulation.
GRECO also acknowledges several novelties aimed at infusing greater transparency and accountability into the judicial system. It however calls for further improvements to be made regarding the appointment system of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) and top ranks of the judiciary.
GRECO concludes that the country has fully implemented two out of eleven recommendations. Eight recommendations have been partly implemented and only one recommendation remains not implemented.
Contact: Jaime Rodriguez, Spokesperson/Media officer, Tel. +33 3 90 21 47 04
- Link to the 5th Round Evaluation Report on Spain in English - French - Spanish (unofficial translation, as provided by the authorities)
- Link to the Second Interim Compliance Report of 4th Evaluation Round on Spain in English - French - Spanish (unofficial translation, as provided by the authorities)