The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body has just issued an update on Romania’s progress in implementing measures to improve the legal framework and weed out corruption from the funding of political parties. The Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) found that of the 20 recommendations made in early 2011, three have been dealt with satisfactorily and 13 partially implemented, while no progress has been made on four points for action.
The recommendations fell under two headings; the first group dealt with Romania’s legal code on corruption, looking at weaknesses in legislation that reduced the capacity of the courts to effectively prosecute for corruption. The second theme looked at transparency of political party funding.
Under the first theme, titled Incriminations, GRECO found that Romania had made some progress on three of the seven points, while the remaining four had not been implemented. GRECO expects that the coming into force of Romania’s New Criminal Code in 2014 will “respond to the requirements of most of the recommendations.” However, GRECO “regret” that the Romanian authorities have not changed their “adverse stance” on widening the scope of laws on bribery and trading in influence. Essentially, GRECO wants to see public servants responsible both for what they do and for omissions – failing to act or turning a blind eye. GRECO also wants to officials to be able to faces charges for suspected offenses which fall outside their areas of responsibility.
On the second theme, transparency in party funding, Romania failed to make any progress on only one of the 13 recommendations. Two were satisfactorily dealt with and some progress at least had been made on the remainder. GRECO noted “with satisfaction the process engaged to amend the legislation on the financing of political parties and election campaigns, and the support expressed by the Parliament to this process.”
Despite the apparently low level of compliance, GRECO considers that many moves are currently underway in Romania that will help the country meet the recommendations.
Another progress report is due in 18 months time.
Liam Lever, email@example.com