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Zero tolerance for corruption within PACE

Strasbourg, 26.04.2018 - The Assembly intends to draw all the necessary consequences, on all levels, from the conclusions of the investigation body on corruption allegations within PACE, “which are now indisputable”. This applies to recommendations aimed at improving its general operating framework and at remedying shortcomings in the transparency of parliamentary procedures as well as the conclusions criticising the conduct of some members or former members of the Assembly who had conflicts of interest and breached the Assembly’s rules of conduct.

In a resolution adopted on the basis of a report by Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC), the Assembly recalls that it did not expect the investigative body “to provide proof in the judicial sense of any corrupt wrongdoings it became aware of, let alone of any criminal offences potentially involved” as “this is the task of the competent national authorities”.

PACE invites the national parliaments and their national delegations to the Assembly, as well as the national governments, “to take the necessary measures in respect of the cases mentioned” and report back to the Assembly by the end of 2018.

It also invites the political groups of the Assembly, as well as the political groups within the national parliaments, “to each draw the consequences of any allegations against their members”, recalling the principle of individual political responsibility, “including the possibility for those elected to relinquish their mandates”.

Finally, PACE urged the political groups of the Assembly to review their practices in particular with regard to appointments to the Monitoring and Rules Committees, the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights, and the ad hoc committees for the observation of elections.

As far as the individual conduct of members mentioned in the report is concerned, the Assembly recalled that the Code of Conduct has already established a precise procedure, including respect for the principle of adversarial proceedings and the rights of the defence. The Rules Committee has begun hearings in respect of these members.

In addition to these conclusions of today’s urgent debate, the PACE members made a plea for “an environment of zero tolerance for corruption” and “a profound and real change in parliamentary attitudes and practices”.

“The interests of the 825 million European citizens the Assembly represents must be put above any private interests, so as to restore the full political credibility of the Assembly, in a period when the Council of Europe has a greater need of a strong parliamentary body than ever before.”