European corruption watchdog slams Germany over parliament rules

Paris – A European anti-corruption watchdog has said Germany was failing to comply with recommendations for transparency, especially regarding the Bundestag, the lower house of the federal parliament.

Transparency requirements

Germany’s level of compliance with anti-corruption recommendations issued in 2015 was “overall very low,” the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) said.

No progress had been made on requiring Bundestag members to make ad hoc disclosures of possible conflicts of interest relating to matters being considered in the legislature, GRECO said.

A recommendation to beef up enforcement of transparency requirements also remained unimplemented, the group said.

There had been only partial implementation of a recommendation that the scope of members’ declarations of interests be expanded to include shareholdings below existing limits, significant liabilities, and the interests of spouses and dependents.

Only three recommendations implemented

New rules about lawmakers’ dealings with lobbyists, too, only partially addressed the group’s concerns, GRECO said.

GRECO also said a recommendation about rules on secondary activities by judges had been implemented only for two federal courts.

Overall only three out of eight recommendations issued in 2015 had been fully implemented, the group said.

As a result, Germany will now be subject to a special monitoring regime for states with low levels of compliance.

Twelve of GRECO’s 48 other member states, including Austria, France, Hungary and Turkey, are also subject to the monitoring regime.

The Council of Europe is separate from the European Union (EU), and deals mainly with human rights and the rule of law.