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Council of Europe advises on Lithuania corruption

On 11th Febraury 2015, the Council of Europe Anti-Corruption Group (GRECO) published a report in which the outcomes of the 4th Evaluation Round of Lithuania corruption are noted. In particular GRECO referred to the following:

  • Acknowledgement of the comprehensive legal and institutional framework developed by Lithuania to prevent and fight corruption among members of parliament, judges and prosecutors.
  • The need for the authorities to now shift their focus to ensuring that the legal norms are well understood and properly enforced.
  • Despite the efforts of the many institutions responsible in this field, the perceived levels of corruption in Lithuania remains above EU members’ average. Levels of public trust in the parliament and the judiciary are particularly low, even though some studies show a certain improvement in recent years.
  • The Seimas (the unicameral Lithuanian parliament) in particular needs to demonstrate its commitment to addressing matters of ethics and integrity in a more proactive manner. Compliance with rules on conflicts of interest and other rules of conduct needs to be properly monitored and enforcement action be taken when necessary. In-house channels must be developed to promote and safeguard integrity and access to information needs to be improved in selected areas, notably as regards the work of committee meetings.
  • The judiciary needs to pursue and intensify its efforts to address the gap in public confidence, with particular attention to be paid to education to improve the drafting of judicial decisions and to institutional discussions on ethical issues. The procedure for the appointment of judges is another area of concern, which must be addressed in order to increase judicial independence and public confidence.
  • The prosecution service faces similar challenges as the judiciary, being also perceived as a close institution, in which there is mistrust in the process of recruitment and promotion. It must address this confidence gap by stepping up its communication with the public and increasing the transparency and objectivity of appointments.
  • Finally, it is crucial that the different institutions holding responsibilities in the field of ethics and integrity establish closer co-operation in raising awareness and enforcing anti-corruption rules.

The implementation of recommendations addressed to Lithuania will be assessed by GRECO in the second half of 2016 through its compliance procedure.

Source: Council of Europe – GRECO


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