Greek government, OECD launch project to fight corruption

Greek Reporter — The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Greek Government, on Wednesday launched a collaboration project to fight corruption.

The project will also have the support of the European Commission. The Greek government body mainly involved is the General Secretariat for Anti-Corruption along with various pertinent ministries and government agencies, aiming to implement its National Anti-Corruption Action Plan based on international best practices.

The National Anti-Corruption Action Plan aims to implement effective measures to promote integrity within the government’s overall reform program, facilitate public-private sector cooperation on tackling fraud and corruption and raise public awareness of the negative impact of corruption for Greek society.

In the launch ceremony in Athens on Tuesday, Deputy President of the Government Yiannis Dragasakis, Alternate Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Dimitris Papagelopoulos and Anti-Corruption Secretary General, Giorgos Vassiliadis were joined by OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa, Head of the OECD-Greece Joint Steering Committee, Gabriela Ramos.

Ramos said that, “The fight against corruption is one of the most effective ways to promote more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economic growth. It is also essential to restoring public trust in our governments, corporations and national institutions. It is crucial to recovering trust in democracy and market economies, trust in our countries.”

The 18-month project aims at 10 targeted outcomes:

  • Modernize internal and external audit mechanisms,
  • Adapt and advance anti-corruption approaches for high risk policy areas,
  • Strengthen institutional capacity of the General Secretariat against Corruption,
  • Enhance anti-corruption awareness across relevant stakeholders in the field of corruption prevention and public integrity,
  • Strengthen whistleblower protection mechanisms in the public and private sectors,
  • Improve processing of corruption complaints,
  • Improve integrity safeguard through enhanced asset declaration, conflict of interest and political financing systems,
  • Mainstream integrity in the education system,
  • Enhance  public and private sector partnership in combating corruption,
  • Improve asset recovery system.

Despite the fine words and intentions however, I fear that  key elements are  missing from the list that any serious attempt to fight fraud and corruption should include. That is changing or repealing many of the outdated laws  that encourage corruption and reducing or eliminating the labirinthine bureaucracy that plagues the everyday life of Greeks in the course of their everyday life  as individuals or  in businesses.

Without tackling some of the causes of corruption, the measures proposed do not have much hope in succeeding and are likely to be just another well intentioned  initiative that will be forgotten in a few years time.