HOME also organised Eastern Partnership panels on asset disclosure and healthcare
corruption, back to back with the experience sharing workshops, allowing Member State
experts to participate in both events.
In response to calls for more "objective" data in future EU Anti-Corruption Reports,
HOME published criminal justice statistics for corruption offences from 2011 to 2013 –
the first such collection at EU level. HOME has now asked Member States to provide
data for 2014. The statistics are comparable across time but not across countries because
of diverging definitions and indicators. Eurostat
welcomed this pilot initiative as a good
basis for developing a permanent collection.
HOME also published the results of a 2015 Eurobarometer of businesses’ attitudes
towards corruption in the EU, with questions on experience and perception; a citizen
survey is envisaged in 2016. DG JUST
will publish the EU Justice Scoreboard with 2014 data on efficiency, quality
and independence of national judicial systems in the EU. Reviewing the EU institutions
Other international developments
Mainstreaming anti-corruption in EU policies
Anti-corruption policies are increasingly present in the European Semester
, linked to the
three priorities of the Annual Growth Survey: re-launching investment, pursuing
structural reforms and responsible fiscal policies. Integrity issues are often linked to
public procurement, public-private partnerships, the healthcare sector, and judicial
quality and independence. Along with other DGs, HOME has been involved in Semester
fact-finding missions and the drafting of country reports and fiches on obstacles to
investment, published as part of the Juncker Plan's "third pillar." The SG
overview of the Semester's streamlined approach that entails fewer and more focused
country-specific recommendations, while the country reports continue to cover broader
Since 2007, corruption is also a priority in the Cooperation & Verification Mechanism
for Bulgaria and Romania, coordinated by the SG
with input from HOME, JUST, OLAF
and others. In recent years, Romania has performed better than Bulgaria. This year's
Council conclusions reflect to some extent Romania's campaign to phase out the
Mechanism, while acknowledging that it would be premature to specify the timing.
The Rule of Law Mechanism
is being invoked for the first time in the case of Poland,
with the involvement of the SG, DG JUST and SJ.
The new Structural Reform Support Service
(under SG), which assists with reforms in
Greece, Cyprus and other countries, will be invited to join the inter-service group.
mentioned work on anti-money-laundering, in particular beneficial ownership,
criminal law, effectiveness of judicial systems and company law, which provides
opportunities for cooperation on the next EU Anti-Corruption Report.
have a new joint anti-fraud strategy for EU funds in the
programming period until 2020. Member States are asked to assess fraud risks and take
additional measures to mitigate them. Tools such as ARACHNE support local
management and control systems to strengthen fraud prevention and detection. Anti-
fraud seminars took place in 12 countries with the participation of various DGs, setting
an example for cooperation across ministries in the Member States.
has piloted Integrity Pacts
in the Structural and Investment Funds, in
partnership with Transparency International, committing contracting authorities and
bidders to abstain from corruption, while a civil society organisation monitors
compliance. Seventeen projects are ongoing in 11 Member States, on a voluntary basis.
REGIO has commissioned a stock-taking study of administrative capacity for public
procurement in European Structural & Investment Funds with 28 country fiches,
including good practice in preventing corruption.
has been prominent on the agenda, especially of the European
Parliament, where HOME took part in two conferences in June 2015 and will attend an
event in March where the Greens/EFA group will present a whistleblower protection
directive they have drafted.
Whistleblowing helps to detect and prevent corruption but is a broader subject
encompassing the remit of multiple DGs. Existing and proposed EU legislation contains
whistleblower protection provisions in areas such as trade secrets, audit, market abuse,
and collective investment in transferable securities. However, Member States are likely
to resist a potential EU whistleblowing directive, on grounds of subsidiarity or
competence. Coordination is necessary across the relevant DGs.
On the basis of international best practice, DG HR
is reviewing the effectiveness of the
Commission's own whistleblowing guidelines, which need to be better communicated to
staff. A publicity campaign is envisaged in spring. As noted by the European
Ombudsman's own-initiative, the Commission is one of only two EU institutions to
implement whistleblower guidelines, as required.
The revised procurement directives aim to improve prevention, detection
and redress of corruption. Measures include exchange of best practice, integrity pacts, red
flags, whistleblower support, data collection, contract registers, and an ambitious
definition of conflict of interest. In the crucial post-award phase, new rules will regulate
the modification of contracts. Member States have until April 2016 to transpose the new
rules into national law, except on e-procurement, where the deadline is September 2018.
gave an update on the last meeting of the European contact-point network against
corruption (EPAC/EACN) that brings together anti-corruption and police oversight
practitioners. Their Paris Declaration calls for deterrent custodial and financial
punishment, effective asset recovery, automatic cross-border exchange of financial
information, and national and transnational protection of witnesses.
The Council is negotiating on the European Public Prosecutor's Office
, proposed to
investigate and prosecute crimes affecting EU financial interests. Operational aspects
have been provisionally agreed.
Negotiations are also ongoing on the proposed Directive on protecting EU financial
interests through criminal law
, aimed at establishing minimum penalties and common
definitions. The main stumbling block is whether the text should cover Value Added
noted that the Financial Regulation
was amended to improve early detection
and exclusion of economic operators.
HOME has been working on freezing and confiscation of criminal assets
for which a
Directive was adopted in 2014, including corruption as a predicate offence. DG JUST
has done work on mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders.
The 2003/568 framework decision on corruption in the private sector
is now open for
implementation review, and HOME will launch infringement procedures if necessary.
The Directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information will require large
companies to disclose information on anti-corruption, bribery and other issues.
Transposition workshops are helping Member States transpose the Directive into national
law, required by December 2016. DG FISMA
will draft optional guidelines to facilitate
the disclosure of non-financial information by companies from 2017.
provided an update on the ANTICORRP interdisciplinary research project
funded by the Seventh Framework Programme from March 2012 until February 2017.
Consisting of 20 research groups in 15 Member States, the project investigates factors
that promote or hinder the development of effective anti-corruption policies. Findings
highlight media freedom, procurement risk indicators, and the impact of favouritism on
markets. A recent study commissioned by the Dutch Presidency focuses on public
integrity and trust. ANTICORRP researchers are available to deliver a presentation for
the Inter-service group. The Research Executive Agency (REA
) will share information
about the EU-funded research project entitled Digital whistleblower: fiscal transparency,
risk assessment and impact of good governance policies assessed (DIGIWHIST).
noted that the Regulation on the statute and funding of European political parties
enters into force in 2017, and a new authority will be established by
September with powers to control for fraud and corruption.
The inter-service group's SharePoint website will be used increasingly as the preparations
for the next EU Anti-Corruption Report accelerate.