Activities of the Group of States against Corruption (Greco)


Fight against corruption

A priority for the Council of Europe

Corruption is one of society's most widespread and insidious evils. It is estimated that there are hundreds of billions of euros’ worth of corrupt transactions every year.

The Council of Europe takes a three-pronged approach to combating corruption, but the three aspects are closely interlinked: the drafting of European rules and standards, the monitoring of compliance with these, and the provision through technical co-operation programmes of targeted assistance to countries and regions.

There are now several Council of Europe legal instruments relating to corruption, and monitoring these is the responsibility of the Group of States against Corruption, also known as GRECO.

GRECO also helps to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies and encourages states to make the requisite legislative, institutional and practical reforms. It also offers a forum for the sharing of best practice in the prevention and detection of corruption.

Membership of GRECO is not confined to Council of Europe member states. Regular increases in the number of participants provide further evidence of its success. The group currently has 49 members (the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, Belarus and the United States of America).

“Corruption is the biggest threat to democracy in Europe today”

Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland issued on 22 January 2013 an impassioned call for Europe to reaffirm its collective and individual commitment to protect human rights, solidarity and democracy, but warned that widespread corruption was undermining citizens’ trust in the rule of law.

Speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly, he recognised that Europe is facing a number of concurrent crises – financial, institutional and a crisis of confidence.

“Corruption is the biggest single threat to democracy in Europe today. More and more people on our continent are losing faith in the rule of law. The Council of Europe has to act, and act now", Jagland asserted. Highlighting the importance of the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group (GRECO) he said “I urge all member states to take seriously the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s monitoring bodies”.

Detailing his vision for the way forward, Mr Jagland proposed that the Council of Europe concentrate on four priorities:

- Fighting corruption and helping governments to implement judicial reforms;
- Protecting freedom of expression and of the media;
- Fighting intolerance and hate speech; and
- Promoting diversity and protecting minorities.

5 October 2009, Strasbourg - Conference marking GRECO´s 10th anniversary

Representatives of Council of Europe member states, including ministers of Justice and secretaries of State, gathered on 5 October in Strasbourg to examine the challenges and achievements in the fight against corruption in Europe. (more...)

Did you know that ...

... the International Anti-Corruption Day takes place annually on 9 December?