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Poverty and the fight against corruption in the Council of Europe member states

Resolution 1492 (2006)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 10 April 2006 (9th Sitting) (see Doc.10834Doc.10834, report of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Cousin). Text adopted by the Assembly on 10 April 2006 (9th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly notes that, despite the measures taken by Council of Europe member states, corruption is still very much present in certain European countries, where resources are often redirected to fuel parallel economies.
2. Corruption affects the functioning of public services with serious consequences for the management of public funds in general and for the judicial system in particular.
3. However, it can also be found in the private sector and creates many opportunities for misappropriation, often with disastrous consequences for the economic development of the country concerned.
4. Corruption therefore creates political instability precisely because of governments’ ineffectiveness in fighting against it and in the long term poses a threat to national and foreign investment.
5. The Assembly regrets the fact that corruption is equally a problem in international governmental and non-governmental organisations.
6. As corruption is shrouded in secrecy, reliable and verifiable empirical data on its full extent are difficult to obtain.
7. Corruption is also a major obstacle to economic and social development and to the eradication of poverty afflicting many citizens and entails flagrant human rights violations affecting people’s daily lives.
8. The Assembly takes note of the reply from the Committee of Ministers to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1646 (2004) on improving the prospects of developing countries: a moral imperative for the world, as well as of the comments of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).
9. It believes that it is important for the governments of Council of Europe member states, if they have not already done so, to draw up rapidly practical plans of action not only for managing public finances but also for the administration of accounts in the private sector.
10. The Assembly therefore recommends that the governments of Council of Europe member states ask their public, local and regional authorities to:
10.1 simplify bureaucratic procedures so as to reduce waste in public spending, and to plan spending appropriately;
10.2 lay down rules on disclosure by public officials of information concerning their income and assets;
10.3 alert them to the link between corruption, socio-economic rights and social exclusion and poverty;
10.4 make public authorities more accountable by publishing information concerning public funds and budgets;
10.5 make it compulsory for them to produce annual accounts showing the apportionment of public funds and budgets;
10.6 establish strict rules on the award of procurement contracts, giving preference to public invitations to tender;
10.7 ensure that public officials receive adequate and regular pay and enjoy career plans that are both just and fair;
10.8 take the necessary steps to decentralise state institutions and grant local and regional authorities fiscal autonomy;
10.9 introduce more competition in major economic sectors;
10.10 guarantee the independence of the media.
11. The Assembly also recommends that the governments of member states of the Council of Europe:
11.1 introduce efficient systems for processing complaints concerning corruption;
11.2 take appropriate disciplinary action against people guilty of corruption, in both the private and public sectors;
11.3 set up intensive, comprehensive training courses for judicial and law enforcement officials;
11.4 increase the independence and transparency of the judicial system.
12. In the implementation of the recommendations set out in paragraph 8 of this resolution, the Assembly invites member state governments to take account of the relevant Council of Europe anti-corruption standards and of GRECO’s recommendations in its first- and second-round evaluations.
13. The Assembly also invites those member states which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the treaties on fighting corruption and organised crime.
14. It also recommends that the national parliaments of member states:
14.1 prepare legislation on the funding of political parties;
14.2 appoint their own public auditor and public accounts committee;
14.3 co-operate closely with civil society.