Margarida Vasconcelos:European Commission has included all EU member states in the Anti-Corruption report but it has not included itself or other EU institutions

The European Commission has recently published the first EU Anti-Corruption Report, which monitors and evaluates Member States’ efforts in this area. According to the European Commission “EU Member States have in place most of the necessary legal instruments and institutions to prevent and fight corruption” nevertheless, “the results they deliver are not satisfactory across the EU.” The Commission’s report highlights member states good practices and weaknesses, but it has not “named and shamed”. The Commission has analyzed the anti corruption measures in place in each member state, it has identified and addressed problematic areas by making recommendations. Obviously, the level of corruption as well as the effectiveness of measures taken to fight it, is different among Member State.

The European Commission has stressed that it is “in the Union’s common interest to ensure that all Member States have efficient anti-corruption policies”. In fact, the Commission has estimated that corruption costs the EU economy €120 billion per year. However, it is important to note that most of the issues that the European Commission wants to address are member states’ exclusive competence. Unsurprisingly, the European Commission believes that it can gives “added value in addressing key outstanding issues in regard to preventing and fighting corruption.”

It is important to mention that the European Commission has included all EU member states in the Anti-Corruption report but it has not included itself or other EU institutions, although it was planning to do it. Yet, the European Ombudsman has been receiving several complaints about the EU institutions, lack of transparency, alleged conflicts of interest and "revolving doors”. In fact, the unelected and unaccountable Commission, which has almost the exclusive right of initiative over all EU legislation, has its meetings behind closed doors and, according to the Commission rules of procedure, all “Discussions shall be confidential.” Nobody knows how the Commission reach its decisions and how the Commissioners vote on the different issues put for discussion. In fact, the lack of transparency is intrinsic to the EU decision-making process. The majority of EU laws are prepared and adopted behind closed doors, it is therefore impossible to voters to follow the EU decision making process.

According to Emily O'Reilly, the European Ombudsman "… the EU institutions already have high standards in comparison to many national administrations.” Nevertheless, she asked the European Commission to include the EU institutions in the next Anti-Corruption Report.

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