Serbia has made some progress in implementing only three of the 13 anti-corruption recommendations that the Council of Europe (CoE) corruption watchdog body made in 2015, the CoE said in a report released on Tuesday.
„The overall level of compliance of Serbia with the recommendations by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body GRECO (Group of States Against Corruption) on preventing corruption in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors is no longer “globally unsatisfactory, but none of the 13 recommendations has been implemented satisfactorily,” the report said.
The report went on to say that progress had been made on three of the recommendations related to the introduction of rules for MPs regarding their interaction with lobbyists, reviewing the system of appraisal for judges and reforming the procedure for the recruitment and promotion of public prosecutors and their deputies.
The report also said that ten recommendations, stipulated in the 2015 evaluation report, were partially implemented and three were not implemented at all.
“An important step forward was taken with the adoption of the new Law on Lobbying. If implemented as foreseen, this law would present a stride forward in increasing the transparency of contacts of MPs with lobbyists. Yet, more determined action is required: the adoption of a code of conduct for MPs should be a priority, as well as further measures to improve the transparency of the legislative process,” the report said.
Serbia’s Ministry of Justice commented on the report and said that the ten GRECO recommendations, that were partially fulfilled, depend on making the amendments to the Serbian Constitution, so GRECO should refrain from commenting on the progress of their implementation until relevant changes have been made to the Constitution.
The two out of three GRECO recommendations that were not met at all were, according to Ministry, linked to the Law on Prevention of Corruption, and as soon as the law is adopted, they will be fully implemented.
GRECO welcomed the drafting of a Law on Prevention of Corruption but added that it could not assess whether sufficient progress had been made because it had not been provided with a copy of the draft law.
GRECO has also expressed concern over what it called an “acrimonious environment” in which consultations about amendments to the parts of the Constitution regulating the judiciary were held, especially with the withdrawal of the Judges’ Association and Prosecutors’ Association from the process and encouraged the Serbian authorities “to make sure that these constitutional amendments have the broadest base of support possible”.
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