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Written declaration No. 677 | Doc. 14918 | 15 October 2019

Investigating and preventing corruption at the Council of Europe

Signatories: Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Sos AVETISYAN, Armenia, SOC ; Mr Jason AZZOPARDI, Malta, EPP/CD ; Ms Petra BAYR, Austria, SOC ; Mr Bertrand BOUYX, France, NR ; Ms Karin BROUWERS, Belgium, EPP/CD ; Ms Reina de BRUIJN-WEZEMAN, Netherlands, ALDE ; Mr Iulian BULAI, Romania, ALDE ; Mr Alexander CHRISTIANSSON, Sweden, EC ; Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN, Romania, SOC ; Mr Hendrik DAEMS, Belgium, ALDE ; Mr Steve DOUBLE, United Kingdom, EC ; Ms Susanne EBERLE-STRUB, Liechtenstein, ALDE ; Ms Annicka ENGBLOM, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Ms Doris FIALA, Switzerland, ALDE ; Lord George FOULKES, United Kingdom, SOC ; Sir Roger GALE, United Kingdom, EC ; Mr Simonas GENTVILAS, Lithuania, ALDE ; Ms Nino GOGUADZE, Georgia, EC ; Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO, Ukraine, EC ; Mr Gusty GRAAS, Luxembourg, ALDE ; Ms Tatevik HAYRAPETYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Alfred HEER, Switzerland, ALDE ; Mr Frank HEINRICH, Germany, EPP/CD ; Ms Gabriela HEINRICH, Germany, SOC ; Ms Françoise HETTO-GAASCH, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Viktor IELENSKYI, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Hovhannes IGITYAN, Armenia, ALDE ; Mr Giorgi KANDELAKI, Georgia, EPP/CD ; Ms Marietta KARAMANLI, France, SOC ; Mr Claude KERN, France, ALDE ; Mr Serhii KIRAL, Ukraine, EC ; Mr Betian KITEV, North Macedonia, SOC ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Christophe LACROIX, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Jacques LE NAY, France, ALDE ; Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, United Kingdom, EC ; Ms Josée LORSCHÉ, Luxembourg, SOC ; Mr Edmon MARUKYAN, Armenia, ALDE ; Mr Mikayel MELKUMYAN, Armenia, EC ; Ms Miroslava NĚMCOVÁ, Czech Republic, EC ; Mr Andreas NICK, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Martin POLIAČIK, Slovak Republic, ALDE ; Ms Irina PRUIDZE, Georgia, EC ; Mr Frédéric REISS, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Josef RIEF, Germany, EPP/CD ; Ms Melisa RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ, Spain, ALDE ; Ms Tabea RÖSSNER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Ruben RUBINYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Axel SCHÄFER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Mr Serhiy SOBOLEV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Olena SOTNYK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Marc SPAUTZ, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC ; Ms Rita TAMAŠUNIENĖ, Lithuania, EC ; Mr André VALLINI, France, SOC ; Mr Vladimir VARDANYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Ms Anne-Mari VIROLAINEN, Finland, EPP/CD ; Mr Günter VOGT, Liechtenstein, ALDE ; Mr Sylvain WASERMAN, France, ALDE ; Mr Markus WIECHEL, Sweden, EC ; Mr Claude WISELER, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Leonid YEMETS, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Naira ZOHRABYAN, Armenia, EC

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it.

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

In 2017, the Council of Europe was shaken by a huge corruption scandal. Italian prosecutors had discovered that a former Parliamentary Assembly member had received almost 2.4 million euros from an Azerbaijani Assembly member.

The Assembly commissioned an external investigation which concluded that “there was a strong suspicion that certain current and former members of PACE had engaged in activity of a corruptive nature.” The Assembly banned 15 former members for life from access to the Assembly premises. It also strengthened its ethical framework.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers did not investigate into the behaviour of Azerbaijan, accused of having directed the corruptive actions.

Before the election of the new Secretary General, both candidates should commit to:

  • initiating independent external investigations into possible corruption conducted by any state and state-linked actors in all Council of Europe institutions over the last ten years;
  • submitting to the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly a proposal on a well-financed mechanism that will allow for quick and automatic investigations in cases of serious allegations of corruption in all parts of the Organisation in the future;
  • implementing a secure whistleblowing procedure at the Council of Europe that will support and protect individuals who expose illegal or unethical practices.