Council of Europe
On 1 March, the Group of States against corruption (GRECO), anticorruption body of the Council of Europe, published two reports for Greece. The first one assessed Greece compliance with recommendations aimed at preventing and fighting corruption for members of Parliament, judges and prosecutors. The GRECO concluded that recommendations have been implemented in a limited manner given that only 6 out of the 19 recommendations have been satisfactorily implemented. As far as Members of Parliament are concerned, the GRECO welcomed the adoption and publication of a code of ethics with new rules with regard to conflicts of interest, gifts and other benefits. The GRECO also noted improvements on asset disclosure, which are now electronically filed and include more information on MPs’ liabilities, but further reforms remain necessary. The second one is a reassessment of Greece compliance in the third evaluation round on the basis of a specific recommendation with regard to transparency of party funding. This follows a profound reform with regard to anonymous donations.
On 6 March, the GRECO published the compliance report for Portugal in the framework of the fourth evaluation round on corruption prevent in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. The Group invites Portugal to strengthen and speed up action in this field because only one out of the 15 recommendations formulated in the evaluation report has been satisfactorily implemented and three partially implemented.
On 8 March, the GRECO published the evaluation report of the first country assessed in the framework of the fifth evaluation round, Slovenia. It covers corruption prevention and promotion of integrity in central governments (top executive functions) and law enforcement agencies. The Group notably recommended to strengthen conflicts of interest prevention and transparency, and to allocate more resources to the national anticorruption body. It welcomed gender balance in the Government: the eight ministries are equally distributed between men and women.
On 22 March, the evaluation report on Russia in the fourth evaluation round on corruption prevent in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. The GRECO welcomed the adoption of certain legal dispositions but also highlighted important shortcomings. It notably recommended to foster transparency in the legislative procedures, adopt a code of ethics for MPs and conflicts of interest prevention schemes. The Group called on Russia on the one hand to make the asset declarations more transparent and accessible to the public, without omitting information on income sources, and on the other hand to couple this with a stricter control and sanctions enforcement when breaches are detected.
Last, on 27 March, the GRECO made public the evaluation report of the fifth evaluation round for Finland. The Group called on the authorities, following recent scandals in police forces, to reinforce prevention and detection of corruption in the government and enforcement agencies. It also recommended to define clear codes of conducts for Ministers and high-ranking civil servants.
On 22 March, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that trilogues, which are negotiation meetings during legislative procedures gathering representatives of the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission behind closed doors in order to speed up negotiations and elaboration of European norms, will have to be more transparent. As a consequence, trilogue works will therefore have to be made public upon request.
On 15 March, the European ombudswoman, Emilie O’Reilly, reactivated the Barroso case, triggered by a meeting between the ex-president of the Commission and now non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs, and Jyrki Kaitanen, currently vice-president, responsible for competitiveness, growth and jobs. She asked the ethical committee of the Commission to reassess a new ban of lobbying activities towards the Commission for Mr. Barroso by 6 June. This committee had given the authorization – highly criticized – to Mr. Barroso to start his new functions at Goldman Sachs but not allowing him to lobby his former institution. The European ombudswoman believes he did not honored his commitment.
On 27 and 28 March 2018, the OECD organized its 6th Global anticorruption and integrity Forum that gathers yearly hundreds of representatives from governments, international organizations and civil society organizations to discuss reforms, new approaches and best practices in this field. Under the topic Planet integrity: Building a fairer society», the issues addressed were the strengthening of integrity norms and the creation of a level playing field for enterprises, as well as reduction of inequalities and a fairer distribution of globalization benefits. On this occasion, new publications of the OECD were released such as Behavioral insights for Public Integrity or Education for Public Integrity.