Saturday

16th Dec 2017

EU commission drops anti-corruption report

  • Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans has scrapped plans to publish an EU anti-corruption report despite past assurances. (Photo: European commission)

The EU commission scrapped plans to publish a report on anti-corruption efforts throughout EU states.

When pressed to explain why, EU commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas on Thursday (2 February) refused to speculate.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The surprise move comes amid widespread anti-graft protests in Romania after the government decriminalised low-level corruption. (Photo: Paul Arne Wagner)

"For the commission, the fight against corruption is not in any way an attempt to interfere or offer value judgments within the political life in a member state," Schinas told EUobserver.

At the time of the publication of the first report in February 2014, the EU commission announced it would issue a follow-up "in two years' time" in an effort to "take stock of how far we have moved forward together".

The 2014 report said member states needed to strengthen controls, put in place more "dissuasive sanctions", and improve transparency.

The Commission was also supposed to look at the EU institutions but dropped the internal assessment because they "realised that this is something we will have to come back to in a future EU anti-corruption report."

With the 2016 report already past the due date, the transparency campaigners were hoping for a late release.

Timmermans rollbacks on promise

But commission vice-president Frans Timmermans has dashed those hopes.

On 25 January, he sent a two-page internal letter to the chair of the EU parliament's civil liberty committee, British socialist MEP Claude Moraes.

The letter states that there is no need to publish any more reports. It states the first report in 2014 was good enough because it provided an overview and created a basis for further work.

"This does not necessarily mean that a continued succession of similar reports in the future would be the best way to proceed," it says.

The surprise move comes amid widespread anti-graft protests in Romania after the government de-criminalised low-level corruption.

It comes amid an unfolding scandal in France where presidential contender Francois Fillon is facing allegations of fraud after paying his wife almost €1 million for fictive work from the public coffer.

It also follows an annual Transparency International corruption perceptions index that ranks Romania among the worst offenders in the EU.

Rhetoric versus reality

Timmermans and EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had earlier this week issued a short joint-statement on Romania. The two noted that the "fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone."

But such statements, given their refusal to publish future anti-corruption reports, have riled transparency campaigners.

“The gap between the rhetoric from President Juncker and Vice-President Timmermans and the reality on the ground is striking," said Carl Dolan, Transparency International's Europe director, in a statement.

Commission wants more centralised eurozone by 2019

EU leaders will discuss at their summit next week the commission's proposals, which include a European Monetary Fund and an EU finance minister - but no eurozone budget, as proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states