The Group of States against Corruption (French: groupe d’États contre la corruption, GRECO), is Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body. GRECO has 48 European States and the United States of America as members. Membership is not restricted to European states.
The OECD, the United Nations, ICPO-Interpol, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank were associated with the preparatory work leading to the establishment of GRECO.
GRECO offers its members a platform for their mutual exchange of experience in the fight against corruption. GRECO members assist each other in the fight against corruption.
The recommendations made by GRECO are of a binding nature, and, therefore, require action within 18 months. The member country has to implement the measures recommended by GRECO and hand in a compliance report within the stated period.
Among other things, GRECO looks into funding of political parties and electoral campaigns. This is the main source of corruption in many countries. It also evaluates tax and financial legislation to counter corruption and money laundering. It also looks into issues such as conflicts of interest, revolving doors, declaration of assets and accountability mechanisms.
The Italian economy loses 236 billion euros a year to corruption, which is about 13 percent of gross domestic product. GRECO said that Italy should do more to prevent corruption in respect of the judiciary, but significantly more is still needed to comply with all its recommendations, in particular those concerning parliamentarians. Italy has implemented satisfactorily only three of the twelve recommendations contained in the Fourth Round Evaluation Report on the prevention of corruption in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors. Four recommendations have not been implemented and five only partially. Therefore, there is need for urgency in cleaning up the system in Italy.
Romania loses 15.6 percent of GDP to corruption every year. Bulgaria, Latvia and Greece lose about 14 percent of GDP each year, Croatia 13.5 percent, Slovakia 13 and the Czech Republic 12.
As most of the countries of the European Union have very low level of corruption, fighting corruption is not an urgent issue for the Union. Greece, Bulgaria and Italy are said to be the most corrupt countries in the European Union. Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Slovakia, Spain and Czech Republic also have some corruption.