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IP/07/848

Brussels, 18 June 2007

Member States fail to implement EU legislation to combat corruption in the private sector

Today the European Commission adopted a report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA of 22 July 2003 on combating corruption in the private sector. This report finds that most Member States have not yet criminalised all circumstances in which corruption may occur in the private sector.

Vice-President Franco Frattini, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, stated: "We must confront corruption wherever and whenever it occurs in both the public and private sectors as it poses a serious threat to a law-abiding society. We must fight corruption in the private sector in particular because it is harmful to the internal market, it distorts competition and impedes the sound economic development of Member States' economies".

Vice-President Frattini congratulated Belgium and the United Kingdom on fully meeting the key requirements of the Framework Decision. However he also noted, "I am disappointed that so many Member States have yet to make it a criminal offence to give or receive a bribe through an intermediary," said Vice-President Frattini, "or to extend their legislation to cover non-profit organisations."

The objective of the Council Framework Decision is to ensure that promising, offering or giving (active corruption) or requesting or receiving (passive corruption) an undue advantage of any kind in the course of business activities in the private sector are criminal offences in all Member States. It includes both profit and non-profit entities in its scope. It also ensures that legal persons may be held responsible for such offences.

The report is based on information received from Member States. Essentially, it finds that transposition of the Council Framework Decision is still at an early stage among Member States. The Commission invites Member States, including those which indicated that they were drafting legislation, to provide all further relevant information to the Commission as soon as possible.

The report, required by article 9 of the Framework Decision, will be forwarded to the Council, as a basis of its assessment of the extent to which Member States have complied with the provisions of the instrument.

The European Commission will issue a working paper on links between corruption and organised crime during the autumn. It will also select projects in this field, following a call for proposals, in the framework of the first €18,5 mill specific programme on "Prevention of and Fight against Crime"

For further information on the activities of Vice-President Frattini, please visit his website at:
http://www.ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/frattini/index_en.htm


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