Press Releases Anti-corruption package: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press conference

Anti-corruption package: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press conference

This anti-corruption package shows that we are determined to fight against corruption at home and beyond – worldwide.

And we send a clear message that the EU is not open for business to those who engage with corruption,  wherever it occurs.

We do a lot already in our external action to prevent and fight corruption. We do so with our partner countries and in the multilateral fora.

Our support focuses on public administration reform and sound public financial management, capacity-building for law enforcement, supporting judicial authorities, and establishing and strengthening specialised anti-corruption bodies.

In the Western Balkans, for example, we work with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to support the building of a stronger track-record of investigations, prosecutions and final convictions on corruption.

In Latin America, through the EL PAcCTO programme (Europe Latin America Programme of Assistance against Transnational Organised Crime). There are a lot of examples that show how we contribute to security and justice in the continent by supporting the fight against transnational organised crime, with corruption being a cross-cutting area of our work.

In our Eastern Neighbourhood, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), we are also working on the prevention of corruption by supporting the reform of public administration and public financial management. We also provide support to civil society, to the media, to the whistle-blowers, and human rights defenders.

We work with Transparency International also, with the program SANCUS (Strengthening Accountability Networks among Civil Society), in order to support accountability, public institutions and empowering civil society to demand systemic change to address accountability and anti-corruption deficits.

Serious acts of corruption can also threaten peace and international security, enabling terrorism, organised crime and other crimes. So, that is why, we have to enlarge our scope and to tackle corruption worldwide.

With today’s [proposal to establish a new CFSP sanctions regime targeting serious acts of corruption worldwide], the European Union could ban perpetrators of acts of corruption from entering the European Union, freeze perpetrators’ assets in the European Union and prohibit any EU person from making funds and economic resources available to perpetrators.

Allow me to clarify that it is for the Member States in the Council to decide on the adoption of this regime, and then on how to use it.

And I am fully aware that there are different perspectives on the use of our Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) sanctions to target corruption.

This is also why it is so important to address both the internal and external dimensions in parallel. And that is what this package means – preaching by example; and asking for the same requirements inside and outside. But it is up to the Member States to decide on a Council Decision. Then there is the Regulation on how to implement this decision, and [as] I said I am very much aware that there will be a discussions among the Member States in the Council, but I am confident that the sanctions proposal that I submitted to the Council right now, today, immediately after the debate in the Commission, will provide an useful impetus for the Member States to consider, to approve and to [take] a step forward in the fight against corruption.

I am sure that the work of the Commission today will be the basis for a fruitful discussion in the Council.

Excuse me colleagues, but I have to leave. But before leaving, I think – on behalf of all of us – I want to express our sadness about the tragic shooting in a school in Belgrade this morning, where at least 9 people, including 8 children, were killed. We want to express our deep condolences to the families and loved ones of  the victims’ and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. That is very sad news.

Thank you.

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