This post was written by George Hoare.
On 6 June 2011, the European Commission (EC) outlined measures to tackle the problem of corruption within the European Union (EU). According to figures quoted in the press release, four out of five EU citizens regard corruption as a major problem in their Member State, with corruption estimated to cost the EU economy €120 billion per year.
The most significant of the new initiatives is the establishment of the EU Anti-Corruption Report (the Report). The Report will be issued by the EC every two years, starting in 2013, and is intended to give a clear picture of anti-corruption efforts and achievements within the EU, as well as pointing out failures and vulnerabilities across the 27 Member States. It is hoped that the Report will stimulate peer learning and exchange of best practices between Member States.
Further initiatives to tackle corruption are expected over the coming years. These include: proposals for modernising rules for confiscating criminal assets; an action plan for how to improve the gathering of crime statistics; and a strategy to improve criminal financial investigations in Member States. In parallel, the EU will put greater emphasis on anti-corruption considerations in its relevant policies. These initiatives are part of a wider agenda to protect Europe’s licit economy, as set out in the EU Internal Security in Action presented by the EC in November 2010.
According to Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, implementation of anti-corruption legislation among Member States is “very uneven”. She considers that there is “not enough determination amongst politicians and decision-makers” to fight corruption and the Report is designed to generate the political will to tackle the problems associated with corruption.