To mark International Anti-Corruption Day, held every year on 9 December, Marin Mrčela, president of the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe (GRECO), said:
“In too many countries we are witnessing corruption or unethical behaviours by the very persons who are in charge of our public institutions. This lowers trust in and the respect for such institutions which, in turn, erodes democracy and the rule of law.
We should thus not be surprised if there is an increased distance between the people and their public institutions. This is exacerbated by the fact that people’s expectations about the exemplary conduct of public office-holders has been growing over recent times. The many mass demonstrations taking place around the world to hold them to account are a testament to it.
Politicians, irrespective of their political affiliation, need to lead by example as it is exemplarity which is expected from public office-holders, without “Ifs or Buts”. No person or institution is immune to corruption. It is also beyond doubt that political will is key to combatting it effectively. Our 49 member states should implement our recommendations fully and timely to create the necessary conditions for corruption at political level to be prevented before it is too late and corrupt practices actually take place.”
GRECO published today the decisions taken in its 84th plenary meeting, held from 2 to 6 December in Strasbourg.