Serbia must tackle top-level corruption, report says
On July 7, Serbia came under critics from the Council of Europe anti-corruption team, which stressed that Serbia must take more serious measures to tackle top-level corruption and corruption in the police.
In its report, GRECO, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption, claims that Serbia must take more active and effective measures to prevent and fight corruption among public servants, from the president and chiefs of cabinets to police officials.
To do so, GRECO suggests putting together a strategy for preventing and tackling corruption among top-level officials and PTEFS (persons with principal executive functions) and a plan for preventing corruption in the police forces of Serbia.
The GRECO report also states that the authority and role of the Anti-corruption Agency of Serbia must be strengthened, as well as the law on lobbying developed. Also, the report suggests addressing the political influence in the appointment of police officials. GRECO report argues that the selection of police officials is currently impacted by political power, which creates space for corruption and a lack of addressing criminal deeds done by politicians and top-level police officers.
Interestingly, the GRECO report claims that the immunity of parliament members must be reviewed to tackle corruption among politicians, which has been a severe issue in Serbia.
In general, the report proposes to increase and strengthen the authority of institutions that counter corruption, as the current situation does not provide them with the possibility to address top-level corruption, the report claims.
Serbia’s political, police, and top-level corruption has been considered a significant issue. Also, European Commission reports continually repeat that corruption in politics and high positions remains an issue. However, not much has changed to address this issue. Moreover, while top-level corruption is present in Serbia, it also harms its ability to seek EU membership, which according to Serbian officials, remains a Serbian goal.