Greek Presidency of the EU: time to make corruption walk the plank

Carl Dolan
30 January, 2014

The logo of the Greek Presidency has the shape of a small sailing boat and emphasises that outline against a blue background. It is meant to reference the sea and the summer, traditional elements of Greece, the country that is considered the cradle of European civilisation.

While the past gives indeed many reasons to marvel at Greek accomplishments, in recent times it has not exactly been smooth sailing for the Hellenic Republic, as it was rocked by six years of economic recession and a string of corruption scandals. So what can Greece do to address corruption during its Presidency of the Council of the EU?

Read our position paper and find out!

The prosecution of corruption and bribery scandals seems to have now taken central stage in the Greek government’s drive to crack down on corruption and to win back the trust of the people. Recent convictions of high-ranking government officials shine like a beacon of hope in this on-going struggle. While we welcome this newfound determination, Transparency International EU and Transparency International Greece are interested in whether Greece will seize the opportunity of being at the helm of the EU to also address corruption at European level.


  • How will the Greek Presidency respond to the repeatedly delayed (but soon to be published) EU Anti-Corruption Report? Will Greece push for Council conclusions which clearly state how member states can follow up on the report’s recommendations?
  • Will Greece advance the current revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive to promote clean financial flows in the EU?
  • Will the Greek Presidency leverage its clout to nudge the Council and its member states to join the Joint Transparency Register?
  • Will Greece ensure that there are clear rules for the financing of European Political Parties?
  • What will the Hellenic Republic do to steer member states towards adoption of the proposal for the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor?
  • Will Greece make all necessary efforts to ensure the crucial adoption of the public procurement directives?
  • And finally, how will Greece steer discussions to push for Europe’s largest companies to disclose information on their social and anti-bribery programmes?

We have outlined these issues and why they are important in our position paper. We are aware that there is a myriad of legislation on the table for what will be a shorter Presidency due to the European elections in May. However, Transparency International believes that this Presidency presents Greece with a unique opportunity to push for a number of anti-corruption and transparency provisions which would:

  • protect the EU budget
  • enable justice for corruption victims
  • make lobbying and public procurement more transparent
  • streamline integrity anti-bribery measures into the reporting of the largest companies.

Owing to the difficulty of reaching consensus among many differing interests, breakthroughs on most of these important issues have not been reached. Nevertheless, progress is crucial as these dossiers have the potential to immeasurably benefit the people of Greece and the citizens of the European Union. Together, Transparency International EU and TI Greece will be closely watching progress at the Council for the next months to ascertain whether and how the Greek Presidency advances the anti-corruption agenda at EU level.

We will publish our findings in a scorecard for the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU in July 2014. The scorecard will be an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the whole Presidency process: It will encompass the Presidency preparations, the management of the Presidency itself and most importantly, it will assess whether and how the Greek Presidency advances transparency and integrity at EU level based on the key issues outlined in our position paper.

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