Slovenia signs up to fighting corruption

The European Parliament in Strasbourg this week raised concerns that candidate countries to the EU were not doing enough to meet EU standards and fight corruption. In its last monitoring report before May 1, when 10 countries join the EU, the assembly said there was «still a big gap in ... implementation and enforcement in important areas.» Slovenia is trying to bridge that gap. It's signed up to the Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. Ksenija Samardzija Matul from Radio Slovenia International has more.

In the last months Slovenia was hit by scandals connected to corruption and organized crime and the Slovene government has announced its intention to fight these crimes. During his visit to Slovenia this week the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer stressed that the world is facing a serious problem.

"Organized crime has been already more internationalized than international corporations or states, unfortunately. So we have to make our societes, our governments, our states stronger in the fight against corruption and to work together at the European level. And therefore I am very greatful for Slovenia joining this Additional Protocol and having taken a very active part in the fight against corruption at the European level."

On this occasion Slovenia's Minister of the Interior, Rado Bohinc, and Walter Schwimmer signed the Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. Minister Bohinc said that with the signing of the Protocol Slovenia takes over additional obligations:

"With today's signing of the Protocol we are requiring Slovenia to adjust its criminal legislation by adding two kinds of criminal offences of corruption, as new forms of criminal offences: the active and passive bribery of judges, jurors and arbitrators. In the present convention this is not settled and Slovenia is obliged to add the changes to its criminal legislation, after the ratification of the additional Protocol."

The General Secretary of the Council of Europe estimates that this institution will have its weight also after EU enlrargement, especially because it comprises 45 countries, 20 more than the EU will comprise after the 1st of May. Walter Schwimmer also expressed satisfaction at Slovenia's way of handling the fight against corruption and organized crime.

"I have realised that Slovenia has established structures for the fight against corruption, the national office for the fight against corruption headed by mr. Drago Kos.So the instruments are there. May be they are not sucesfull in every case. As I said before, you never can stop the fight against corruption, you have to go on, at the momemnt you have succeeded, may be there are other heads on this hydra, therefore you should never be satisfied."