Czech Republic Still Lacks Anti-Corruption Rules For Legislators, Says Report

Brussels, June 16 (CTK) – The Czech Republic still does not fully implement most of the recommendations on preventing corruption among MPs, judges, and prosecutors, and lacks a law on lobbying, a code of ethics for MPs, or enforceable rules on accepting gifts and other benefits, according to a report presented today by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group GRECO.

The report highlights the need for the Czech authorities to adopt an amendment to the law on prosecution to address these issues effectively.

GRECO conducted an evaluation of the progress made by the Czech Republic since the last report in 2021. The evaluation revealed that the country had fully implemented two out of the 14 recommendations, partially implemented nine, and made no progress with the remaining three.

The report emphasizes that the most significant challenges concerning the prevention of corruption are still associated with the work of legislators. The Parliament has failed to adopt a law on lobbying, which would establish regulations for MPs’ interactions with interest groups. Moreover, the adoption of a code of ethics for MPs has been postponed, which would define rules regarding the acceptance of gifts or other benefits and address issues of incompatibility of posts.

GRECO expresses “serious concern” over the Czech Senate’s refusal to establish a code of ethics applicable to senators. Additionally, the draft code’s limited applicability to deputies and its content shortcomings fail to meet the recommendations’ requirements, the report states.

Regarding the disclosure of legislators’ asset declarations, the Czech authorities have only partially complied with the requirements, as GRECO concludes. The duty of disclosure still does not extend to family members, as requested. Furthermore, last year’s amendment to conflict of interest laws has restricted access to asset declarations.

The report reveals a worrisome trend of narrowing the scope and means of access to asset declarations, according to GRECO.

While the Czech Republic has met the recommendations on transparency in the selection and promotion of judges, it has only partially complied with the requirements for a judicial code of ethics, which GRECO states does not apply to all judges. The report also highlights that judges lack the ability to appeal disciplinary decisions, including removal from office, as recommended by the anti-corruption group.

In addition, the rules for the selection and promotion of prosecutors still have unresolved issues. The Czech authorities have not yet adopted an amendment to the law on the public prosecutor’s office to address this problem adequately.

The Council of Europe, an international organization consisting of 46 European countries, has been actively working towards combating corruption. While the Czech Republic was ranked as the worst country in implementing anti-corruption measures in 2019, according to the previous GRECO report, its position has shown improvement in recent years. However, the latest report highlights the continued need for significant reforms to strengthen anti-corruption measures and ensure the integrity of the legislative, judicial, and prosecutorial systems in the country.

Article by Prague Forum

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