Commission must at last be open about anti-corruption policy

14 December 2016

Commission must at last be open about anti-corruption policy

Foto: European Parliament / Plenaire vergaderzaal EP in Straatsburg.

In a joint declaration, the European Parliament’s cross-party Intergroup on Integrity, Transparency, Corruption and Organised Crime and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have called on the European Commission to at last exhibit openness about its anti-corruption policy. The call was also supported by Council of Europe body the Group of States against Corruption, known by its French acronym of GRECO. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, who is co-chair of the Intergroup, explained that “not only with the European Parliament but also in the UN and the Council of Europe the Commission has nothing to say about the reports on combating corruption in the EU, and in particular within the European Union institutions. In holding its tongue in this way the Commission is giving licence to countries both inside and beyond the EU to join them in failing to meet their reporting obligations.”

The declaration includes a number of concrete demands. “We are insisting that the Commission produce their anti-corruption report this year, which is what they promised at the start of 2016, and that they fulfil their obligations in the framework of the UN,” said De Jong. “We also want to know why they still haven’t succeeded in becoming party to the Council of Europe’s anticorruption mechanism, GRECO. The Commission ought to be setting a good example, not a bad one.”

The Commission is hiding behind all sorts of legal obstacles in the framework of both the UN and the Council of Europe. “The EU is party to the UN Treaty and so there can’t possibly be any legal problem,” insists De Jong. “And if there are legal obstacles to becoming party to GRECO, then the Commission should at least tell us what they are, which to date they have not done with any clarity. In any case, the Commission could simply make agreements with GRECO on a voluntary basis. GRECO could, for example, deliver the basic material for the report on combatting corruption in the EU which the Commission has promised the EP it would produce.”

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