Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia is not doing enough to fight corruption, according to the Council of Europe.
In its evaluation report, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has urged Slovakia to take “determined action” to fight corruption “in executive government posts and in the police force”.
According to GRECO, Slovakia continues to have “a number of systemic weaknesses that need urgent attention to bolster corruption prevention”, including among persons holding top executive functions (ministers and other senior government officials) and within the country’s police force.
The Council of Europe’s corruption prevention body outlined a number of recommendations for Slovakia to step up its fight against corruption at the highest levels of government, including the adoption of an action plan targeting corruption risks, the publication of an “enforceable, well-publicised code of conduct” and increased transparency as regards to contacts with lobbyists, gifts received and asset and interest declarations of top ministers and government officials.
GRECO also recommends the revision of the existing Code of Ethics for the Police Force, action to strengthen the protection of whistle-blowers from within law enforcement authorities as well as stronger security vetting of police members.
In March, GRECO had already criticized Slovakia for failing to make significant improvements in its fight against corruption, pointing out that less than half of its recommendations, meant to tackle rampant corruption and “inappropriate ‘behind-the-scenes’ decision-making practices”, had been implemented.
According to Transparency International, Slovakia is the fourth most corrupt country in the EU, achieving its worst score in the NGO’s Corruption Perceptions Index since 2013.
The country was shocked last year by the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak, who was investigating corruption links between Slovakia’s political elite, private business interests and the mafia. The public outcry and mass demonstrations prompted by his assassination, along with his fiancee, forced then-Prime Minister Robert Fico to resign and paved the way for the election of anti-corruption activist Zuzana Caputova as Slovak President earlier this year.