European anti-corruption group targets Greek party financing

7th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Greece should simplify its anti-corruption laws and tighten up controls on the party political funding, a report from a European watchdog said Wednesday.

The Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption, known by its French acronym of (GRECO), argued that Greek law on corruption was "excessively complex", which hampered its effectiveness.

It identified several problems in the laws covering "bribery of domestic, foreign and international judges, arbitrators, jurors and members of public assemblies," and procedural obstacles that hampered fighting corruption.

There was also needed to be more transparency in the funding of political parties and election campaigns, the group said.

Greece should abolish the use of anonymous coupons for donations; have all sums above a certain level made by bank transfer to ensure transparency; and ensure that information on political funding be made public promptly.

GRECO denounced what it called the "inefficient and opaque supervision of the funding of political parties and election campaigns, which may have contributed to the general mistrust in the system of political financing."

It sent a list of 27 recommendations to Athens and called for a response from Greece by the end of 2011.

GRECO was set up in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor and facilitate the fight against corruption in its member states.

Inside Greece, the issue of corruption has come to the fore as the government has tried to force through austerity measures that have hit the public sector hard.

Some experts have argued that a culture of public sector corruption helped contribute to the country's massive debt crisis.

© 2010 AFP

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