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COE: HUNGARY MAKING PROGRESS IMPLEMENTING GRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Hungary has satisfactorily implemented several recommendations put forward earlier by GRECO, the Council of Europe’s body of experts on corruption, the body said in an interim report released on Thursday. GRECO also noted a delay in the implementation of recommendations concerning the independence of the judiciary. In its corruption prevention report evaluating recommendations made for Hungary in 2015 in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors, the CoE’s Group of States Against Corruption concluded that Hungary has satisfactorily implemented six of the body’s eighteen recommendations. Of the 12 remaining pending recommendations, three have been partially implemented and nine recommendations concerning the integrity of members of parliament and the independence of judiciary have not been enforced, the report said. GRECO established that the legislative process in Hungary is adequately regulated and it ensures transparency and openness. It recommended the adoption of a code of ethics for members of parliament with supplementary guidance on instances of encountering various forms of a conflict of interest. GRECO also recommended the introduction of regulations obliging MPs to disclose any instance of suspected conflict of interest. GRECO said that Hungary’s prosecution system was independent and based on a strict hierarchical structure, though it called for more progress to be made in putting adequate corruption-prevention checks and balances in place. It said political impartiality would be better served if term limits were placed on the public prosecutor. The report also suggested that the immunity of MPs, judges and prosecutors should be waived in respect of criminal offences except for situations involving “in flagrante delicto”. “Such privileges ought to be reduced to the extent necessary for the functions of the officials concerned; they may otherwise counteract efficient corruption prevention in respect of these officials,” the report said. GRECO’s report concluded that the overall low level of compliance with the recommendations remained “globally unsatisfactory” and has requested Hungary to submit a progress report on the implementation of pending recommendations by Dec. 31 at the latest.