To mark International Anti-Corruption Day, commemorated every year on 9 December, the President of the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe (GRECO), Marin Mrčela, issued the following statement:
“Preventing corruption and promoting integrity in public life requires openness and transparency. In the course of its evaluation cycles, GRECO has issued recommendations to states on a range of aspects related to good governance and the rule of law. When it comes to the preparation of new legislation and other regulation, GRECO has stressed the need to establish a proper legislative mechanism and allow for public transparency about how draft laws evolve, from proposal to adoption. Fast-track procedures are too often used to speed up the adoption of new legislation without proper consultation with other state institutions and social actors concerned, and even without appropriate parliamentary debate.
GRECO has also found that consultation timeframes and feedback processes are often not observed in practice. Timelines may be shortened or laws made available for consultation too late in the process for meaningful input. Such practices make it less likely that contents are modified on the basis of public comments. But consultation procedures and timelines should be respected. This is essential for the quality of our democracies. Transparency is one of the main pillars on which any effort to fight against corruption must be based. The public has a right to know whether, and how, law-making is influenced by other parties or interests. To achieve this, legislative procedure should ensure the necessary transparency.
We know that corruption can be reduced by means of targeted preventive action. Moreover, mentalities that are formed early endure. States should provide education and awareness-raising to the public, as well as to children and young people, about the harmful effects of corruption for people’s lives, public trust and the rule of law.”