Saturday

17th Nov 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • 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.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar

In Brussels, PR professionals and lobbying consultants are working for some of the world's most autocratic regimes. And we have no way of knowing for sure who they are, how much they are paid, or what they are up to.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us