From Iceland — GRECO: More Needs To Be Done To Combat Corruption In Iceland

GRECO: More Needs To Be Done To Combat Corruption In Iceland

Published November 17, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

The Icelandic government has been given 18 months to make further improvements to measures put in place to combat corruption. According to an article on RÚV, only four of the 18 suggested improvements have been made so far.

The proposals for improvement were made by GRECO, an anti-corruption organisation, in the spring of 2018. The authors of the report said it was striking how little has been done to combat corruption in Iceland. A new report was published reviewing the government’s response to the proposals, stating that they have fully complied with four of the proposals, seven have been partially improved and seven are still standing.

A new working group for strengthening political confidence was consulted in response to GRECO’s original 2018 report and laws were enacted to prevent conflicts of interest between ministers, secretaries and ambassadors. GRECO welcomes this response but says that it has not gone far enough. For example, the law still states that civil servants may not work for interest groups until six months after they retire from the administration. Assistants to the Minister are excluded from this law, but GRECO considers this too short a time and that there may be inconsistencies in the ethics of senior officials.

GRECO also believe that the Minister of Justice’s power to appoint and reappoint the country’s chief of police and National Commissioner of Police gave too strong a political connection to the police that could have a negative impact on their work.

GRECO have stated that the steps taken by the government so far,including the passing of a new law protecting whilstleblowers, have been promising, but more still needs to be done in the next 18 months. The government’s response to the proposal will be reviewed in April 2021.

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