Swiss anti-corruption efforts convince oversight body

Plenty of work remains to be done to improve party-funding transparency in Switzerland, according to Transparency International Keystone

The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has ended its non-conformity proceedings against Switzerland. It said Switzerland’s efforts concerning transparency in party financing were heading in the right direction. 

This content was published on September 17, 2019 minutes

The government said in a statementExternal link on Tuesday it had taken note of GRECO’s sixth interim report on the 2011 country examination. 

This dealt on the one hand with the criminal provisions against corruption and on the other with party financing. GRECOExternal link made recommendations to Switzerland in both areas. Specifically, Switzerland was asked to address the bribery of individuals and opacity in party financing.

While all GRECO recommendations on criminal law have been fully implemented since the revised criminal law on corruption came into force in 2016, the recommendations on transparency in political financing have all remained open. Switzerland was therefore transferred to the so-called non-conformity procedure. 

In its sixth interim report, GRECO came to the conclusion that Switzerland’s current efforts towards transparency in political financing were heading in the right direction. From GRECO’s point of view, the indirect counterproposal to the transparency initiative sent by parliament for consultation would implement the recommendations sufficiently. 

Accordingly, it has repealed the non-compliance proceedings against Switzerland. 

Switzerland must now report to GRECO on the progress of its efforts by the end of 2020. On that basis, GRECO will adopt a further conformity report. 

‘Unworthy and intolerable situation’ 

Transparency International SwitzerlandExternal link acknowledged the report but said it showed that plenty of work remained to be done to improve transparency in party financing in Switzerland.

The NGO pointed out that six of the 11 GRECO recommendations remained unfulfilled or only partially fulfilled. 

“The progress mentioned in the GRECO report came about only thanks to positive cantonal referendums and the federal transparency initiative,” said Martin Hilti, director of Transparency International Switzerland. 

“It is therefore high time that the citizens of the cantons also took action at national level to ensure greater transparency in the near future. Otherwise, Switzerland will remain the only country in Europe without binding transparency rules in political financing – an unworthy and intolerable situation for our democracy and the rule of law.”

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