Czech Republic Still Lacks Anti-Corruption Rules For Legislators, Says Report
The Czech Republic has fully implemented two of GRECO’s 14 recommendations, partially implemented nine and made no progress with implementing the other three. Photo credit: Freepik.
Brussels, June 16 (CTK) – The Czech Republic still does not fully implement most of the recommendations on how 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 Czech authorities should also adopt an amendment to the law on prosecution, the report suggests.
GRECO evaluated the progress made by the Czech Republic since the last report in 2021, noting that the country had fully implemented two of the 14 recommendations, partially implemented nine and made no progress with implementing the other three.
Most of the problematic issues related to the inadequate prevention of corruption are still linked to the work of legislators. Parliament has still not adopted a law on lobbying to introduce rules for MPs’ dealings with interest groups. It has also postponed the adoption of a code of ethics for MPs, which would define the rules regarding the accepting of gifts or other benefits, or incompatibility of posts.
GRECO expressed “serious concern” at the Czech Senate’s refusal to draw up a code of ethics applicable to senators. In addition, the draft code’s very limited applicability to deputies, as well as shortcomings in its content, did not meet the requirements of the recommendations, the report says.
The Czech authorities have only partially complied with the requirements concerning the disclosure of legislators’ asset declarations, GRECO concludes. This duty still does not include their family members, as requested. Moreover, last year’s amendment to conflict of interest laws limits access to the asset declarations, it says.
The information shows a worrying trend towards narrowing the scope and means of access to asset declaration, it says.
The Czech Republic has satisfactorily met the recommendations on transparency in the selection and promotion of judges, but only partially complied with the requirements for a judicial code of ethics, which GRECO said did not apply to all judges.
Judges still cannot appeal disciplinary decisions, including removal from office, as the anti-corruption group also recommends.
Nor are the rules for the selection and promotion of prosecutors completely problem-free, according to GRECO. The Czech authorities have still not adopted an amendment to the law on the public prosecutor’s office to address this problem.
The Council of Europe is an international organisation bringing together 46 European countries. In 2019, according to that year’s GRECO report, the Czech Republic was the worst country of all of them in implementing anti-corruption measures, but its position has improved in recent years.