8 December 2011
In a speech at Transparency International Wednesday, Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström noted that corruption is "a disease which destroys countries from within". Malmström stressed recent initiatives launched by the European Commission and the need to make use of the tools at hand. December 9 is the international day against corruption.
"We need a strong, sustained and European response to the billions being lost to corruption each year. We cannot afford inaction", Malmström said, speaking to participants at the "Tackling Corruption across the EU: Principles into Practice" event held by Transparency International in Brussels.
"We must widen the net. There are tools at our disposal", said Malmström.
The European Commission adopted an anti-corruption package in June this year, as a first step towards a more strategic EU approach to the issue. An EU Anti-Corruption Report will be published every two years, which will give an assessment of Member States' efforts to fight corruption. Malmström also mentioned other initiatives that are in the pipeline, such as better rules on the confiscation of criminal assets and a reform of EU public procurement legislation.
"Corruption eats away at the cultural, political and economic fabric of society, undermining trust in democratic institutions, and weakening the accountability of political leadership", Malmström said.
Read the full speech here. Transparency international have published its annual corruption perception index in connection with the international day against corruption on 9 December. More on the UN day here.