Czech Republic Opposes New EU Anti-Corruption Directive
The Czech government is opposing the proposed EU directive aimed at harmonizing penalties for corruption within the EU. In particular, Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blazek stated that his country has reservations about certain measures presented in the proposal, according to Euractiv.
In May, the European Commission put forward a draft directive that involves the establishment of specialized anti-corruption bodies within the EU. The project also aims to harmonize the definitions of corrupt offenses and the application of sanctions to avoid significant discrepancies across EU member states.
Justice Minister Pavel Blazek expressed overall support for the intentions of the European Commission but raised doubts and pointed out problematic aspects of the directive. He mentioned that during the discussions on the project, the Czech government will seek to make changes that address their concerns.
"While we appreciate the efforts of the European Commission to strengthen the fight against corruption and support the goals of the Directive, we find certain parts of the directive problematic and have reservations about them," said Blazek.
The Czech Senate, in alignment with the government's position, rejected the project in a vote last week. The introduction of penalties such as disenfranchisement from elections and the question of lifting immunity for public officials caused particular objections. The Senate argued that the European Union does not have the authority to implement such measures.
"The directive should be approved in a high-quality legal and technical form, with a clear definition of offenses. Other provisions should be regulated in the same manner as in already adopted directives that harmonize substantive criminal law, representing a common compromise among member states regarding the level of harmonization of general rules in this area," concluded the Czech senators.
It is worth noting that the recent high-profile corruption scandal in the EU, known as the "KatarGate," involved the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili, who was suspected of lobbying on behalf of Qatar. The scandal gained attention in December of last year when Belgium accused four individuals associated with the European Parliament of receiving cash and gifts from Qatar to influence decision-making.