Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has urged parliamentarians and the authorities of all Council of Europe member States “to redouble their efforts to stamp out this world scourge” in a statement to mark International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December).
“Every day, every one of us is affected by corruption. It saps economic development, ruins countless lives, unfairly enriches many and undermines democracy as it destroys the confidence of the public in elected officials,” the President said. “It is not just a petty way of life, it operates at all levels and increasingly on a global scale, where money, influence and people move with fluidity. It cannot be tackled in one country, or in one sector alone, but on all fronts at the same time.”
She added: “Parliamentarians have a particular responsibility in this area. For good or ill, they can find themselves at the top of the food chain in terms of tackling corruption, but also in terms of succumbing to it. The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe’s international monitoring body on corruption, has taken major steps, including in its Fourth Evaluation Round on ‘Prevention of corruption in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors’, to confront parliamentarians and others with their responsibilities.”
“As a parliamentarian myself, and as the President of a Parliamentary Assembly that has had to raise the bar concerning its code of conduct, ethical principles and precautions against conflicts of interest, I have seen how much can be achieved in a short period of time when there is a willingness to act. GRECO’s findings provide a blueprint for parliamentarians and other state and non-state actors,” she added.
“There are, unfortunately, still too many countries which do not fully comply with the recommendations of this expert body. Today, International Anti-Corruption Day, is a good day to remind all countries of their obligation to do so. We all have a responsibility to tackle corruption, and parliamentarians have a particular role and a particular responsibility, not just today, but every day of the year.”