Corruption remains a major problem, posing a serious threat
to the rule of law. In the public sector, it can take many forms:
ministers who abuse their powers, police or other officials who
take bribes, elections that are “bought”, crooked judges, money
laundering, parliamentarians claiming false expenses, and illegal
lobbying. Five member States of the Council of Europe are placed
beyond the hundredth position out of 174 States listed in the 2012
Transparency International Corruption Perception Index and many
recent cases of corruption or alleged corruption clearly demonstrate
that Europe is no exception to this observation.
Corruption subverts public institutions, undermines the law
and saps citizens' trust in their governments. It also has a devastating
effect on human rights. States should enact sharper laws against
corruption and push for greater transparency in the financial sector,
assisting each other to follow “money trails” and going after banks who
hide or launder dirty money. Judges should be appointed and promoted
transparently, and be subject to non-political disciplinary measures.
There should be sound rules on declaring interests, strict codes
of conduct for public officials and better regulation of lobbying.
Meanwhile, parliaments could do more to scrutinise how far governments
implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe's anti-corruption
bodies, GRECO and MONEYVAL.