Corruption: Estonia told to sharpen tools
The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has released an evaluation report, calling on Estonia to sharpen its corruption prevention policy as regards members of Parliament (MPs), judges and prosecutors.
The report was adopted during the 58th GRECO Plenary Meeting which took place between 3- 7 December 2012.
The group acknowledged that Estonia remained one of the least corrupt countries in post-communist Europe. It also said that the levels of corruption in the country have decreased significantly prior to and subsequently after Estonia joined the European Union.
However, the report found that specifically in the field of corruption prevention amongst members of Parliament, judges and prosecutors more progress could be achieved.
In particular, GRECO pointed at the lack of application of the conflicts of interest rules; the absence or insufficient definition of ethical principles and rules of conduct; and the weak supervision of compliance with ethical principles and rules on conflicts of interests and on disclosure of economic interests as the most common problems.
The report also said that ‘the size of the Estonian society, the relatively low number of the country’s officials and the compact nature of the above professional groups, are seen by themselves as a deterrent and an efficient self-regulatory framework for reducing corruption’. This was the reason, continued the report, why corruption prevention in Estonia had not been pursued in a systematic and coherent manner.
More specifically, the group recommended that Estonia introduces rules on how members of Parliament engage with lobbyists and other third parties who seek to influence the legislative process. Moreover, it suggested elaboration of the Code of Conduct for members of Parliament and carrying out of a study which to identify post-employment restrictions for MPs.