From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Politicians Should Lead the Fight against Corruption, Says President of GRECO

Marin Mrcela, the President of the Council of Europe ‘s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) has called on politicians to implement genuine political will in the fight against corruption.

In a statement to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day, he noted that “politicians should lead with example, without ifs or buts.”

“In too many countries, we are witnessing corruption or unethical behaviour by the very persons who are in charge of our public institutions. This lowers trust in and respect for such institutions which, in turn, erodes democracy and the rule of law,” Mrcela said.

The GRECO President explained how it is not surprising we have seen mass protests taking place in member states, a result, he said of an “increased distance between people and their public institutions.” 

He added; “This is exacerbated by the fact that people’s expectations about the exemplary conduct of public office-holders have been growing over recent times. The many mass demonstrations taking place around the world to hold them to account are a testament to it.”

International Day Against Corruption is observed by the United Nations and aims to raise awareness about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability of society. GRECO’s role is to monitor corruption throughout its member states as well as suggesting reforms and measures that can be implemented within jurisdictions, to increase compliance with anti-corruption measures.

Corruption is not a partisan issue, Mrcela insisted, adding that “no person or institution is immune to corruption” and that the only way to overcome it is through political will.

“Our 49 member states should implement our recommendations fully and timely to create the necessary conditions for corruption at a political level to be prevented before it is too late and corrupt practices actually take place,” he added.

In an exclusive interview with the Executive Secretary of GRECO, Gianluca Esposito, he made it clear that “corruption, money laundering, and crime remain a threat to Albania” and that reforms are only any good if they are implemented.

“The government is going in the right direction but most importantly – and I am insisting on this – reforms are only any good if they are effectively and properly implemented,” he said.

“It is not enough to create a new institution or body to fight corruption or crime; they actually have to deliver on the tasks they are supposed to carry out,” he added.

Albania has been given a number of recommendations from GRECO that it needs to implement in due course.