The governments should rigorously manage the corruption risks that appear in the context of the extraordinary measures aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic, referring including to the infusion of large sums of money into the economy for alleviating the economic and social impact of the phenomenon, the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) said in its annual report that was published in Strasbourg today.
GRECO notes that 2020 was very much affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As countries face undeniable emergencies, concentration of powers, derogations from fundamental rights and freedoms, and as large amounts of money are infused into the economy to alleviate the crisis (now and in the near future), corruption risks should not be underestimated. It is therefore most important that anti-corruption is streamlined in all COVID-19, and more generally, pandemic-related processes.
“To this end, I issued detailed Guidance for states on managing corruption risks in the context of COVID-19 and I call upon all our member states to follow them closely. It is crucial that, in state of emergency situations, all decisions and procedures are designed with transparency, integrity and accountability” said the President of GRECO Marin Mrčela
In his report, the official, referring to the GRECO’s activity in 2020, expressed his regret at the fact that some of the Member States witnessed evident attempts on the part of the executive and/or legislative power to attack, intimidate or undermine the judicial system. “Examining the corruption prevention measures, we should bear in mind that we should not regard the fight against corruption separately from the judicial system or even against this. The first thing is essential for the second and vice versa,” he stated.
By the end of 2020, the GRECO member states fully implemented almost 40% of the recommendations concerning corruption prevention with reference to MPs, judges and prosecutors. In this period, the Republic of Moldova fully implemented four of the 18 recommendations formulated by GRECO. Ten recommendations were implemented partially, while four recommendations concerning MPs, judges and prosecutors haven’t been implemented.
The majority of the countries evaluated were recommended to adopt codes of conduct for the top executive functions or to review them. The unwillingness of some of the countries to provide official information in accordance with the law on the freedom of information and also the lobbying, conflicts of interests and “rotative doors” were especially worrisome. The report also analyzed the anticorruption problems relevant to the law enforcement agencies, including the anticorruption and integrity, human resources polices and protection of whistleblowers.
The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor States’ compliance with the organization’s anti-corruption standards. GRECO’s objective is to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. Currently, GRECO comprises the 47 CoE Member States, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the United States of America.