Transparency International criticizes the Government’s delay in adopting EU measures against corruption | Spain

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Poster supporting Edward Snowden, whistleblower of NSA espionage and emblem of the 'whistleblower', on a street in Hong Kong, in 2013.
Poster supporting Edward Snowden, whistleblower of NSA espionage and emblem of the ‘whistleblower’, on a street in Hong Kong, in 2013.Sam Tsang (GETTY)

Transparency International has criticized this Tuesday, one more year, the Government of Pedro Sánchez for its lack of legislative initiatives to fight corruption. In this case, due to the delay in transposing, among others, the European filtering directive (better known by the Anglo-Saxon term whistleblowers, “the one who blows the whistle”), which must create complaint channels that guarantee confidentiality so that any citizen can report possible infractions without fear of reprisals. This independent body has launched its warning during the presentation online of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021, in which Spain has dropped one point compared to the position it occupied last year and has obtained 61 points on a scale of 100 in which, the higher the score, the less corruption.

The authors of the study consider that this decrease “is not statistically significant” but it does reflect a “stagnation” that reflects “a level of corruption that affects the proper functioning of democratic institutions.” In fact, Spain has dropped two places compared to last year and four compared to 2019 to now stand at 34 in a classification of 180 countries. Spain is also placed in position 14 among the 27 countries of the European Union. The 61 points are quite far from the 70 points in the Perception Index that this independent body considers that an economy such as Spain’s, which is among the top 15 in the world, should have “if it wants to maintain its image and competitiveness.”

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In this way, Spain is still very far from the three countries that lead the list with 88 points, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand. In addition, the great powers of the EU are also well above Spain. Germany receives a rating of 80 points, while France reaches 72 points. Portugal, which until last year was behind Spain, is one point ahead of Spain this time, with 62 points. Italy remains behind, with 56 points. The index of this independent organization, which has been produced since 1995, uses 13 surveys and evaluations prepared by experts, which are then unified.

With these data, the highest representatives of Transparency International have made an appeal to the Government of Sánchez on Tuesday to undertake legislative reforms urgently. “The legislative agenda in Spain cannot wait any longer and must be a political commitment without exception in order to make progress”, stressed its president, Professor of Criminal Law Silvina Bacigalupo. Among these measures is the urgent transposition of the filtering directive, which should have been done before last December 17, but whose project the Government is still preparing. When it comes into force, the entire Public Administration and companies with more than 50 workers will be required to have complaint channels with the aim of promoting complaint initiatives such as those of Edward Snowden, the consultant who revealed the scope of the Agency’s interceptions Security of the United States, or José Luis Peñas, the former PP councilor who blew up the Gurtel case.

This delay has caused, in the opinion of Manuel Villoria, Professor of Political Science at the Rey Juan Carlos University and member of the Steering Committee of Transparency International in Spain, that to date there continues to be “no guarantee of protection for whistleblowers unfortunately” .

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The lawyer Jesús Sánchez Lambás, a member of the same committee, highlighted in his speech that this deficiency is widespread in the EU, where only five of the 27 member countries have so far implemented the directive on whistleblowers Sánchez Lambás warns that the situation may worsen this year due to the energy crisis and the international tension surrounding Ukraine.

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The experts of this independent body attribute part of this delay to the pandemic. In addition, according to Villoria, this circumstance has caused “wastage, corruption” that they explain, that in Spain “no progress has been made and, in part, it has regressed” in the fight against corruption. However, Transparency International’s criticism of Spain is not limited solely to the delay in adapting this European directive to Spanish law. Bacigalupo has also demanded from the Sánchez Executive other legislative reforms that help prevent corruption and favor good governance and transparency that allow us to get out of the “no progress or stagnation” in which Spain has been located for years in this index.

Villoria insists on the need to deal with the existence of pressure groups and political patronage through laws, where Spain has not shown “significant changes” in recent years. And he has given as an example the recent appointment of the new magistrates of the Constitutional Court and the Court of Auditors, in which “the parties agree and appoint people very close to their interests.” “In Spain we have not managed to advance sufficiently”, he lamented, before insisting that we are entering a key moment with the arrival of 69,000 million euros of European funds for which the EU is going to demand “serious controls”. “Reducing corruption is essential to guarantee political integrity and the proper functioning of democratic institutions,” emphasizes Transparency International.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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