Corruption – the misuse of entrusted power for private gain – represents a major source of institutional, social and political instability; it weakens trust in public institutions and puts human rights and democracy under threat.
Corruption occurs in many forms, on many scales and continuously evolves. This requires persistent and sustained efforts to tackle this scourge and a firm commitment at the highest political levels to establish high standards of integrity.
This exercise is even more challenging when the main institutions and processes of a State are largely dominated by corrupt elites. In such situations corruption is not only a major problem, but also an unconventional method of governance which leaves people no alternative but to take part in this system. One of the main consequences is a distortion of the role of democratic institutions.
Due to the nature of their mandate, parliamentarians have the right and the responsibility to promote a cultural shift in governance and behavior, and to ensure that corrupt practices are not only punished by law, but also condemned and rejected.
The Parliamentary Assembly should examine this issue, its impact in Council of Europe member States in terms of both its extent and nature, and propose measures that could be taken by parliaments in order to effectively react against this form of corruption and to foster good governance.