Spain has had ‘limited progress’ in fighting corruption, says Council of Europe
The international organization says measures recommended in 2013 not yet fully implemented and urges authorities to do so “as soon as possible”
The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Council of Europe reviewed Spain’s efforts in the fight against corruption, in a report published today. The document assesses the level of compliance by the country in implementing recommendations made four and a half years ago to prevent and fight against corruption as regard MPs, judges, and prosecutors. While the published document highlights “the high quality of the judicial system and the Attorney General office in Spain,” it also refers to the need to carry out measures aimed at improving the independence of the judiciary.
Compliance as a whole was deemed still “globally unsatisfactory” by GRECO, as the organization considers that Spain has not fully put into action the eleven recommendations made by the group in 2013. Specifically, the report stated, seven have been partially implemented, while four have not been put into practice.
Among the actions that have not been enforced in the past four years is the adoption of a code of conduct for MPs including, for example, prevention of conflict of interests, gifts, and financial interests. The report also stated that the recommendation previously made to introduce regulations on how members of Congress are to interact with lobbyists who seek to influence the legislative process have only been implemented at a partial level.
Independence of the judiciary
When it comes to the matter of the courts, the European group regrets that the recommendation to carry out an evaluation of the legislative framework concerning the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) and its perceived independence have not been fully realized. Inasmuch, the document reiterates that political authorities “should not be involved” in “the process of selecting a judicial change.”
The same goes, reads the report, for the recommendation asking to establish objective evaluation law criteria and requirements for the appointment of high positions in the judiciary. In this field, the Council of Europe anti-corruption group criticizes the lack of legislative development to establish this framework when appointing presidents of various levels of courts, from local to the National and Supreme courts, to ensure that there be “no doubt about the independence, impartiality, and transparency of the process.”
High quality was noted
Still, the Council of Europe also highlighted the high quality of the judicial system. Specifically, the group wrote positively about the process to issue a national justice strategy and increase the independence and efficiency of the judiciary, for instance, the adoption of a code of conduct and the creation of a Commission of Judicial Ethics (although the group notes that it has not yet become active).
GRECO is the anti-corruption group of the Council of Europe, an international organization made up of 47 states with headquarters in Strasbourg. Its main objective is the defense and protection of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.