Romania shows an unprecedented determination in combating corruption-related crimes affecting public institutions, states a report by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body (Group of States against Corruption - GRECO) published on Friday, January 22.
However, the country still needs to take more effective prevention measures by developing integrity rules for the Parliament's members, and increasing the effectiveness of existing measures for judges and prosecutors.
“Romania has taken important steps to investigate and prosecute corruption. It now needs to develop a more robust and effective system of prevention which would address problematic situations even before they turn into a criminal conduct,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
GRECO’s reports points out that Romania needs to further implement corruption preventive policies for MPs. The country needs to make the legislative process more transparent, to limit the use of expedited procedures, and to avoid the risks of manipulation.
Romania should also develop a code of conduct for the members of parliament and make sure there is a mechanism to enforce these when it is necessary. The report also calls for the adoption of rules on gifts and other benefits and on relations with third parties, including lobbyists.
GRECO also advises Romania to carry out an adequate assessment of the rules on incompatibilities, so as to identify the reasons for the perceived lack of effectiveness, and to make the necessary changes, and to find ways to accelerate and enforce the judicial decisions concerning incompatibilities.
Romania should also review its system of immunities and make the MPs aware of their obligations.
GRECO also makes recommendations regarding judges and prosecutors, who are subject to career-related mechanisms and general rights and obligations to protect their integrity. However, the report underlines that practice has shown that there is a need to strengthen the overall supervision by the Superior Council of Magistracy and the heads of courts and prosecutorial offices to avoid that inappropriate conducts are tolerated. The code of conduct of 2005 needs to be better tailored to address concrete situations.
GRECO’s report also recommends a review of the conditions for the appointment and dismissal of senior prosecutors to limit risks of political interference and to secure their objective impartiality.
The report shows, however, that Romania’s system for the declaration of income, assets and interests, which applies to many categories of officials including parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors, and is supervised by the National Integrity Agency, is exemplary in several aspects. But things are not perfect in this area either, and GRECO thinks that the working methods may need to be revised.
The implementation of the 13 recommendations addressed to Romania in this report will be assessed by GRECO in the second half of 2017 through its compliance procedure, according to the Council of Europe's statement.
The new report shows a big improvement compared to previous ones. In 2013, Romania fulfilled just 3 out of 20 Council of Europe recommendations to fight corruption.
The full GRECO report on Romania is available here.
Irina Popescu, [email protected]