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    Belgium lags behind in the fight against corruption

    © Belga

    Belgium is close to the bottom of the class in terms of preventing corruption among legislators, judges and prosecutors, according to the 2018 report of an anti-corruption group of the Council of Europe, published on Tuesday.

    The 2018 report of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Council of Europe, was released on Tuesday.

    By the end of 2015, Finland was the only country to have implemented all recommendations in that regard.

    Despite its lack of action, Belgium was among countries in which corruption is perceived as weak, hence the risk of underestimating the need to take measures, the monitoring organ noted.

    By the end of 2018, sixteen countries, including Belgium, were targeted by non-compliance procedures.

    GRECO President Marin Mrcela, who is also Vice President of Croatia’s Supreme Court, cautioned that GRECO’s recommendations were not facultative. He stressed that taking the recommendations seriously and doing everything possible to implement them were “part of our joint commitment towards this organisation”.

    Despite its difficulty, establishing a system to prevent corruption from occurring is necessary, Mrcela said in the report. “Once corruption sets in, it’s too late,” he added.

    Last year, 35 GRECO member States were examined under the assessment cycle related specifically to the prevention of corruption among parliamentarians, judges, and prosecutors.

    Globally, the implementation of the recommendations slowed down in 2018, compared to 2017. Barely 34% of the recommendations had been fully used by the end of 2018.

    The general percentage of recommendations respected was 11%, equivalent to Turkey’s rate, whereas Portugal, Bosnia, Spain, and Serbia fared worse. However, Turkey is by far the country with the largest number of recommendations not implemented. It is also the country that received the most recommendations.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times