–In the Strasbourg plenary session today, the European Parliament, from left to right, was united in their call for a more thorough reporting on corruption in the EU. The European Commission had shelved the bi-annual anti-corruption report last year in favour of reporting on corruption via the Economic Semester. The Members of the European Parliament were by and large not satisfied with the results.
Benedek Jávor, ITCO Bureau Member: “Today, we asked three concrete questions to the Commission, namely about the shelving of the 2nd Anti-corruption Report, the state of play of the negotiations on the participation of the EU to GRECO and on the UNCAC review process. The European Commission once again did not reply but talked around the questions using legalistic and bureaucratic arguments to shield itself from taking ambitious action in the fight against corruption. The ITCO Intergroup will continue to raise these issues over and over again, until we see that the European Commission is progressing.”
Dennis de Jong, ITCO co-chair, considers that reporting on anti-corruption deserves its own special investigation, not hidden under a European Economic Semester. “Corruption affects so much more than economic growth. It is of direct influence of the lives of citizens in Europe, regarding access to healthcare, to education, to the justice system.”
De Jong: “Both secretariats of UNCAC and GRECO offer practical ways in which the EU can be monitored. We would like to hear no more excuses, and see the Commission engage with us in debate how to find a way forward for the anti-corruption efforts.”
The European Union joined in 2008 the UN Convention Against Corruption which requires a regular reporting on the progress of anti-corruption measures. The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption regularly evaluates different aspects of democratic states and the rule of law and has been urging for the EU to become a signatory, despite not being a nation state.