Greco/JK_moderation High level launch event - GE

High Level Launch of GRECO’s 5th Evaluation Cycle, 20 March 2017, 9.30, Room G03, Agora

Elements for the moderation by Mr. Jan KLEIJSSEN, Director of Information Society and Action against Crime (REVISED)

·        Deputy Secretary General, Attorney General, Honourable Mr. Nicoletti, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to welcome you all to the official High Level Launch of GRECO’s new, 5th Evaluation Round starting in 2017.

·        As you all know by now, the topic of this new round is “preventing corruption and promoting integrity in central governments (top executive functions) and law enforcement agencies”. This topic is the natural extension of GRECO’s 4th evaluation round which focused on the prevention of corruption in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors.

·        Nothing is probably more important today than strengthening the credibility of public institutions and of democracy generally and countering the growing populism in our societies – on both sides of the “pond”. This is why the theme of this new round is so relevant and timely. GRECO’s evaluations will be key to shaping citizens’ attitudes and trust vis-à-vis their political institutions.

·        With the adoption of some 500 monitoring reports in 18 years, GRECO has built over time a strong reputation as a respected, serious, balanced and impartial monitoring body. I am sure this reputation will be maintained as it embarks in this new monitoring round. The seriousness of our process is a guarantee of its quality.

·        GRECO’s reports don’t always hit the world headlines, but they help systems change on the ground; they don’t always feature high in the political discourse, but they contribute to change mind-sets; they are not always short as punchy tweets, but they do support sustainable and long-lasting reforms.

·        I am delighted to see so many of you here today coming from such a diverse background - lawyers, judges, policy makers, law enforcement, journalists, NGOs, colleagues from other international organisations, and of course GRECO members and countries’ representatives. We look forward to your inputs and suggestions to make this new round a success. I want to extend a special welcome to our external guests some of whom made very long trips to be with us today. Thanks for your commitment and your support.

·        Today’s morning event is divided in two parts:

o   First, we will hear from institutional speakers from both the Council of Europe and our partners’ organizations;

o   Second, we will change the scenario here and have a very distinguished panel discussion moderated by my former colleague and current Ombudsman of the Basque Country, Manuel Lezertua, with questions and answers both from the podium and the room.

·        Mr. Marin Mrčela, President of GRECO, will deliver closing remarks. The event will end at 13:00. This afternoon GRECO’s meeting is in camera, as usual, for GRECO members and observers only.

·        Without further ado, I give the floor to the Council of Europe’s Deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini Dragoni, who is replacing the Secretary General who had hoped to be here today but is still recovering. You have the floor Deputy Secretary General.

[DSG speech]

·        Many thanks Deputy Secretary General for your inspiring remarks and for your support to GRECO’s work, including your reference to the Council of Europe’s strategic priorities of countering populism and the management of migration flows.

·        I will now turn to His Excellency the Attorney General of Cyprus, representing the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. You have the floor, Mr. Clerides.

[AG speech]

·        Thank you Mr. Clerides for stressing [the importance the Cyprus Chairmanship attaches to GRECO’s work and for your support to the values the Council of Europe stands for – Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law.]

·        It is now my pleasure to give the floor to the Honourable Mr. Nicoletti, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Mr. Nicoletti is preparing a report on “Corruption as a Governance Regime: A Barrier to Institutional Efficiency and Progress”. A report which will be very relevant to GRECO’s work during its previous and new evaluation rounds.

[Mr. Nicoletti speech]

·        Thank you Mr. Nicoletti. [You have pointed to the importance of understanding corruption phenomena in light of each country’s social, political and economic development, in order to develop preventive and repressive strategies that are adequate to each situation. We’ll continue to follow your work closely and contribute to it within our competences. GRECO will also continue to support the Assembly as it reforms its own ethics standards – a key work which is good for the Assembly and good for the Council of Europe as a whole.]

·        I now move to the speakers from our partner organisations with which we cooperate and coordinate strongly. The first is the European Ombudsman, with whom we are gradually building a mutually beneficial and increasingly strong partnership on topics of common interest. Ms. O’Reilly also hoped to be here today but an urgent personal issue prevents her from doing so. Ms. Hirsch-Ziembinska, Head of Unit in Ms. O’Reilly’s office will read out the speech Ms. O’Reilly would have delivered. You have the floor, Madam.

[European Ombudsman speech]

·        Thank you very much [for sharing with us your perspective over the importance of high ethics standards for top executive officials. This is important for everyone, including within the European institutions, so I sincerely appreciate your concrete and direct talk which makes all these principles real. We have a lot to learn from each other and we look forward to continuing our cooperation].

·        Our last speaker for this part of the morning is Mr. Patrick Moulette, who is the Head of the OECD Anti-Corruption Division and responsible for the OECD Working Group on Bribery, which is the “sister” or “brother” body of GRECO at the OECD. You have the floor Mr. Moulette.

[OECD speech]

·        Thank you. [While from different perspectives, the Council of Europe and the OECD share a very similar methodology to monitoring anti-corruption issues. I am glad that our partnership is strong and durable and I look forward to strengthening it even further.]

·        Ladies and Gentlemen, this intervention concludes the first part of the morning session. Let me invite you to take a break now for coffee or tea…or just stretching your legs…please be back at [10:45/11:00] sharp for the beginning of the second part of this morning session.

·        Thank you.