Anti-Corruption in Europe (ACE)

 

At the ECBA’s spring conference of 2015 in Bucharest, the idea emerged to create within the ECBA a new working group on anti-corruption and bribery in Europe. At the same time, triggered by international legal instruments like the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, bribing foreign officials has become criminal in most countries. The risk of criminal prosecution for multinational companies and individuals has further increased by national legislation with jurisdictions going beyond the national borders, such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or the UK Bribery Act 2010.

Also at the level of the EU, corruption is considered as one of the main challenges for European societies. Early in 2014, the EU Commission released its first anti-corruption report [1] and in 2015, DG Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission launched an “Anti-corruption experience sharing programme” to “support Member States, local NGOs and other stakeholders in addressing specific challenges identified in the EU Anti-Corruption Report” [2]. It is clear that the need to strengthen the fight against corruption seems present more present than ever.

The purpose of this working group shall be to improve knowledge and awareness among defence practitioners of national and international legislation on anti-corruption, in order to provide effective advice and representation.

The group shall also seek to establish a European-wide network of contacts with experience in corruption cases. From a geographical perspective, the focus shall be on countries which have less developed anti-corruption legislation (but may be caught by international legislation such as the UK Bribery Act), have high levels of reported corruption (for example, those which have a high ranking on Transparency Internationals recently published Corruption Perception Index) and which are likely to be the focus of national and international enforcement action in the coming years.

The Working Group consists of an organising committee, which is represented by the founding and managing members:

  • Jurjan Geertsma (The Netherlands),
  • Vladimir Hrle (Serbia),
  • Anna Oehmichen (Germany) and
  • Chris Whalley (United Kingdom).

Jaanus Tehver (Estonia) is strategic advisor of the Working Group.

Other members include Mihai Mareș (Romania) and Arild Dyngeland (Norway).

 

[1] EU Anti-Corruption Report of 3 February 2014, COM(2014) 38 final
Online available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/docs/acr_2014_en.pdf

[2] Cf.
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/experience-sharing-programme/index_en.htm.