Promoting integrity in governance to tackle political corruption

Stepping up the fight against corruption and restoring trust in the efficiency and effectiveness of democratic institutions “must be a priority” for many European democracies, including European institutions, the Assembly said today at the end of a debate on promoting integrity in governance to tackle political corruption.

Adopting a resolution based on the report prepared by Michele Nicoletti (Italy, SOC), the Assembly invited governments to step up the fight against corruption by promoting integrity and transparency in public life at all levels, in particular by adopting sound rules on the declaration of assets, income and financial and other interests, making such declarations easily accessible to the public and setting up independent supervisory bodies and regulating lobbying activities.

The role of the media in denouncing corruption should be acknowledged, while ensuring that media regulation respects media freedom and responsibility.
Parliaments should develop a code of conduct covering guidance on the prevention of conflicts of interest, gifts and other advantages, while ensuring that “parliamentary immunity does not protect members of parliament from criminal prosecution for corruption-related acts”.

As regards the Parliamentary Assembly, it should pay special attention to the revision and effective implementation of its own code of conduct; support the independent external investigation body looking into allegations of corruption within the Assembly, and provide a sound basis for regulating lobbying activities.

"A strong democracy is the best anti-corruption tool. Unacceptable behaviour weakens social justice and fosters populism," the rapporteur said. "Public awareness, anti-corruption campaigns and integrity education programmes are the keys to successful anti-corruption strategies, which also need to respond to new forms of corruption as they emerge," he pointed out.