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Fighting corruption at global level

The EU as a supranational organisation has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2008. UNCAC is the only international anti-corruption instrument legally binding on signatory states, including the EU and its Member States.

Commissioner Johansson for the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Sharm El-Sheikh, 13-17 December 2021

In June 2021, at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on corruption, the EU launched its UNCAC implementation review mechanism. Under it, the EU needs to prepare a self-assessment on the effective implementation of the Convention. This process is led by the European Commission (DG HOME) in close cooperation with all relevant EU institutions and relevant EU agencies and bodies. The EU is in a unique position as the only non-state actor, member of this Convention, and the first of its kind to undergo such review. In September 2022, the European Commission presented the EU’s self-assessment under the first round of the implementation review of the UNCAC to the UN Office for Drugs and Crime.

The UN Convention against corruption includes a non-exhaustive list of types of corruption in a series of provisions aimed at criminalising corruption, including private sector corruption. These types of corruption-related crimes are listed in Chapter III of UNCAC as follows:

  • Bribery of national and foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations (Articles 15 and 16)
  • Embezzlement, misappropriation or other diversion of property by a public official (Article 17)
  • Trading in influence (Article 18)
  • Abuse of functions (Article 19)
  • Illicit enrichment (Article 20)
  • Bribery in the private sector (Article 21)
  • Embezzlement of property in the private sector (Article 22)
  • Laundering of proceeds of crime (Article 23)
  • Concealment (Article 24)
  • Obstruction of Justice (Article 25)

Corruption in the EU’s external policies

Fighting corruption is also a global goal of the EU, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions. From 2014 to 2020, support to anti-corruption projects and measures by the EU and its countries steadily increased and reached over EUR 770 million worldwide.

The Commission’s work on promoting integrity and good governance in partner countries remains a strong mission. For the 2021-2027 financial framework period, the Commission plans to support work on anti-corruption in 50+ partner countries through a comprehensive approach:

  • invest in improving transparency
  • fighting impunity
  • strengthening anti-corruption agencies
  • supporting national human rights institutions
  • investigative capacities
  • justice reform
  • money laundering
  • international cooperation
  • civil society actors

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