Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. EU anti-corruption report

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details (2014) 38 final (3.2.14)
Publication Date 03/02/2014
Content Type ,

Corruption seriously harms the economy and society as a whole. Many countries around the world suffer from deep-rooted corruption that hampers economic development, undermines democracy, and damages social justice and the rule of law. The Member States of the EU are not immune to this reality. Corruption varies in nature and extent from one country to another, but it affects all Member States. It impinges on good governance, sound management of public money, and competitive markets. In extreme cases, it undermines the trust of citizens in democratic institutions and processes.

This Report provides an analysis of corruption within the EU’s Member States and of the steps taken to prevent and fight it. It aims to launch a debate involving the Commission, Member States, the European Parliament and other stakeholders, to assist the anti-corruption work and to identify ways in which the European dimension can help.

EU Member States have in place most of the necessary legal instruments and institutions to prevent and fight corruption. However, the results they deliver are not satisfactory across the EU. Anti-corruption rules are not always vigorously enforced, systemic problems are not tackled effectively enough, and the relevant institutions do not always have sufficient capacity to enforce the rules. Declared intentions are still too distant from concrete results, and genuine political will to eradicate corruption often appears to be missing.

To ensure an EU contribution, the Commission adopted the Communication on Fighting Corruption in the EU in June 2011, establishing the EU Anti-Corruption Report to monitor and assess Member States’ efforts in this area with a view to stronger political engagement to address corruption effectively. The report is hereby published now for the first time; further reports will be issued every two years.

In line with international legal instruments, this report defines corruption in a broad sense as any ‘abuse of power for private gain’. It therefore covers specific acts of corruption and those measures that Member States take specifically to prevent or punish corrupt acts as defined by the law, and also mentions a range of areas and measures which impact on the risk of corruption occurring and on the capacity to control it.

The report focuses on selected key issues of particular relevance to each Member State. It describes good practices as well as weaknesses, and identifies steps which will allow Member States to address corruption more effectively. The Commission recognises that some of these issues are solely national competence. It is, however, in the Union’s common interest to ensure that all Member States have efficient anti-corruption policies and that the EU supports the Member States in pursuing this work. The report therefore seeks to promote high anti-corruption standards across the EU. By highlighting problems – as well as good practices – found inside the EU, the report also lends credibility to the EU’s efforts to promote anti-corruption standards elsewhere.

Corruption is a complex phenomenon with economic, social, political and cultural dimensions, which cannot be easily eliminated. An effective policy response cannot be reduced to a standard set of measures; there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. The report therefore examines corruption within the national context of each Member State, and suggests how the most relevant issues for each Member State can be addressed in the national context.

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Related Links
EUR-Lex: COM(2014)38: Follow the progress of this report through the decision-making procedure
ESO: Background information: Commission unveils first EU Anti-Corruption Report

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