Council of Europe: Germany must do more against corruption

According to the anti-corruption body of the Council of Europe (GRECO), Germany does not take sufficient precautions against bribery in the Bundestag and must rectify it.

The German Council of Europe delegation must submit a report to the committee on this issue no later than June 2020, in which it shows that GRECO recommendations in the fight against corruption in parliament and in the judiciary would also be implemented, said the body based in the French Strasbourg on Monday.

GRECO criticized that German parliamentarians needed clearer rules for dealing with lobbyists, as well as private conflicts of interest and corporate interests of the deputies must be disclosed in more detail. Previous GRECO recommendations Germany had met only insufficient. In addition to Germany, according to GRECO, there are also non-compliance proceedings against Belarus, Hungary, Turkey, France, Ireland or Austria.

GRECO had initiated a so-called non-compliance with Germany at the end of June, as the panel considered that recommendations from 2015 were insufficiently taken into account.

Germany was recently reprimanded by GRECO for lack of transparency in party funding.

Transparency International judged the GRECO-Bilanz as “devastating”, the “blockade attitude of the Bundestag” was no longer acceptable. “The German parliament must set clear rules for dealing with lobbyists and work for a better disclosure of conflicts of interest,” said Norman Loeckel, the organization’s deputy head of the policy group.

Specifically, the GRECO Board complained that the Bundestag rejected the disclosure of shares of MEPs below a limit of 25 percent of the voting rights. The “Tagesspiegel” reported on the report at the end of last week. Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) told the newspaper that the Bundestag deals with the GRECO recommendations after the summer break. “I am sure that the political groups will scrutinize the recommendations of the report in the Legal Commission in order to reconcile the German legislation and the recommendations from Strasbourg.”

The Anti-Corruption Panel, in its annual report, said that the overall rate of implementation of GRECO recommendations is underway. Only just under 34 percent of the recommendations were fully applied last year in the member states.

The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, France, and its bodies are responsible for human rights issues and not part of the European Union. GRECO was launched 20 years ago and has a total of 49 member states.