Migration and Home Affairs

European Union becomes an observer to Council of Europe's anti-corruption body (GRECO)

Wednesday, 10 July, 2019

Today, Committee of Ministers representing the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe acceded to the European Union’s request to join the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

In a Joint Statement, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland, welcomed the Decision.

As an observer, the European Union will be invited to take part in all GRECO meetings from now on, and its representatives will have access to the documents being discussed. While it will not have a formal vote in the body, the acquisition of observer status does not preclude the possibility of full membership at a later date.

Background

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is the Council of Europe anti-corruption body. It aims to improve the capacity of its Members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards.

While the EU has been cooperating with the Council of Europe on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding agreed in 2007, GRECO was one of the few Council bodies with which the European Union had no dedicated legal framework underpinning that cooperation, until now.

In 2011, the Commission defined the main objectives for strengthened cooperation in the fight against corruption between the European Union and the Council of Europe, through GRECO, and suggested possible ways for the EU to take part in the Group's work and the benefits that this would bring. In 2012, the Commission followed up with a Communication setting out a two-step approach for the EU’s accession to the body.