Transparency International report shows need for tough approach to corruption in EU

24 May 2011

Transparency International report shows need for tough approach to corruption in EU

SP-Euro-MP Dennis de Jong sees the conclusions of the seventh report from Transparency International (TI) on the implementation of the OECD Convention against Bribery as confirmation of the need to adopt a tough approach to the problem of bribery committed by European corporations. The report shows that numerous countries are reluctant to tackle their own firms in cases where they are guilty of bribing foreign officials. ‘The Netherlands hardly does a thing to counter corruption in corporations established in our country,’ says De Jong. ‘Eight investigations and absolutely no convictions is a ridiculously low figure for a country with so many international companies, especially when you consider that Shell is being prosecuted by the United States in relation to bribery in Nigeria while just last week it was revealed that the payment of bribes by Philips in Poland is just “business culture”. Poland has begun an investigation into this, yet the Netherlands continues to do nothing.’

Dennis de JongThe SP Euro-MP last week gained the agreement of European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström that the European Parliament and Commission would work together to combat corruption. The Commissioner’s undertaking came after the presentation by De Jong of a ‘Call for action against corruption’ which he handed to her with the support of every significant political group in the Parliament. One of its main points was the need to create a level playing field for firms established in Europe. As De Jong says, “it should not be possible for companies to get away scot free with something in one member state that would be dealt with severely in another.”

The report from TI makes it clear which EU member states take the struggle against corruption seriously and which are doing nothing about it. Austria, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Slovakia and Slovenia haven’t bothered to investigate a single case of bribery involving companies established on their territory, while in 2010 Germany had 135 cases under investigation and has prosecuted thirty-four firms. The Netherlands is classed as practising 'moderate enforcement', having failed to secure a single conviction. “Not much of a score when The Hague is supposed to be the international capital of law,” says De Jong. “It’s time the Netherlands delivered, and I am looking for a speedy change of course on the part of the Dutch government.”

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