Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body: Romania made little progress in corruption prevention
Romania has made little progress to implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body (GRECO) to prevent and combat corruption in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors, a report of the institution showed.
Romania has fully complied with only two of the 13 recommendations contained in an evaluation from 2016, according to the GRECO report published on Thursday, January 18. Meanwhile, seven recommendations have not been implemented and another four only partly implemented.
“The report notes that the main initiative taken in Romania with regard to MPs is the adoption of a code of conduct in October 2017 aiming to regulate gifts and other benefits, and the management of conflicts of interest. Despite this positive development, GRECO points out that the broad wording of the code and inconsistent rules for its enforcement prevent it from providing a fully satisfactory framework,” the institutions said in a press release.
Moreover, Romania hasn’t yet given proper consideration to improving the National Integrity Agency (NIA) performance in controlling MPs’ declarations of assets and interests, although its working methods and data processing capabilities have been improved, GRECO also said. The institution would also want Romania to improve the implementation in practice of NIA’s decisions and sanctions on incompatibilities and conflicts of interest.
Another area of particular concern for GRECO is the legislative process, “given the persisting controversies and allegations of improper consultation, the excessive use of expedited procedure, and the lack of transparency.”
“As regards reforms relating to judges and prosecutors, GRECO observes the same limited decisive action. Measures to make the justice system more responsive to integrity risks are at an early stage. GRECO stresses that the Supreme Council of Magistracy (SCM) and the Judicial Inspectorate should play a more active role in terms of analysis, information and advice. Measures are also needed to reinforce the role and effectiveness of those performing managerial functions at courts and prosecution services,” the press release also reads.
The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body also believes Romania could do more to make sure that the appointment and revocation for the most senior prosecutorial functions are based on a transparent process based on objective criteria. Moreover, the Supreme Council of Magistracy should play a stronger role in this procedure.
“2017 was marked by a number of proposals and counterproposals concerning appointments, the disciplinary procedure and other aspects, some of which were perceived as an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary.”
The report was adopted on December 8, 2017, during a plenary meeting in which GRECO also decided to carry out an ad hoc urgent evaluation of three draft laws concerning the judiciary registered for adoption by Parliament in late October using the expedited procedure.
“GRECO was not able to assess this draft legislation in the report published today because of its recent drafting. The ad hoc report currently in preparation will be discussed and eventually adopted by GRECO at its March 19-23 plenary meeting,” the institution said. It also requested the Romanian authorities to report back on the implementation of the pending recommendations by December 31, 2018.
Irina Marica, firstname.lastname@example.org