Governments must “rigorously manage the corruption risks that have emerged due to the need to take extraordinary measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic”, according to the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption.
GRECO stated that for more than one year now governments have put in place emergency measures that have “implied concentrations of powers and derogations of fundamental rights” and included measures that go hand in hand with corruption risks. These should not be underestimated, they stressed.
Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić said: “In the challenging times we face, governments should step up their efforts to ensure that all policies and actions aimed at addressing the public health and economic crises meet anti-corruption standards. Adequate legislation and institutional frameworks to combat corruption are not enough. We must see these standards applied effectively in practice, and governments must act with transparency and accountability”.
These comments were made ahead of the release of GRECOs 2020 activity report. In the report, a number of conclusions were made on Albania and its progress to date.
According to the report, as of 31 December 2020, Albania had implemented nine out of the ten recommendations issued by GRECO. The remaining recommendation was implemented partially. In fact, Albania was in third place out of all states in terms of the number of recommendations it had implemented in relation to judges and prosecutors.
While a high level of implementation is a positive step, enforcement will be key to their success.