GRECO to inspect political corruption in Estonia

28.05.2012, 14:26

GRECO that stands for Group of States Against Corruption, a body that operates at the Council of Europe, says it is not happy with the situation in Estonia, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

Next Monday its officials will visit Tallinn to study how Estonia battles against corruption.

This is part of GRECO’s programme to examine corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors.

In addition to Estonia, GRECO’s officials will also be visiting Finland, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

GRECO has said that while acknowledging an increase in regulatory efforts, the countries must set up transparent systems for party and election campaign financing.

GRECO’s spokesperson told Eesti Päevaleht that the body was not commenting specific issues such as the ongoing Meikargate in Estonia where a prominent member of the Reform Party admitted to have been a frontman for channelling corporate donations to the party.

In its recent report, GRECO said about Estonia that while the country has prohibited corporate donations, the rules are not effective because they can be circumvented.
For instance, it is prohibited to Estonia to make hidden donations, but it does not apply to membership fees and the parties themselves categorize funds as donations and membership fees.

Among others, GRECO has expressed doubts whether the committee on oversight of political funding is fully independent.

In its 2010 report on Estonia, GRECO said that Estonia had satisfactorily implemented only one out of 17 recommendations made by GRECO to increase transparency of party and election campaign funding.

GRECO is expected to publish its most recent report on Estonia this week.
Controversially, in GRECO Estonia is represented by the minister of justice Kristen Michal who himself is implicated in Meikargate.