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Council of Europe: Dutch government does too little against corruption at the top

Koen Marée, NRC


The Dutch government has not followed up on any of the recommendations made in 2019, such as implementing a code of conduct and a lobby register. The Dutch government does too little to prevent corruption and conflicts of interest. The Council of Europe's anti-corruption body (GRECO) concludes in a report published Tuesday that the Netherlands has not followed any of the 16 recommendations made in 2019. Half of the recommendations were adopted in part, and the other half not at all. Within eighteen months, the government must still be able to demonstrate that the recommendations are implemented, although there are no sanctions for this.

GRECO stated in 2019 that while the Dutch government considered integrity important, a strategy to monitor corruption was lacking. Among the recommendations were the introduction of a code of conduct for government employees, rules for accepting gifts and more transparency about which lobbyists maintain contact with politicians.

According to GRECO, enforcement organisations, such as the police and the military police, have made "some progress". But the organisation "regrets" the way in which the cabinet has dealt with the recommendations. Currently, the cabinet is working on an adjustment of the so-called Blue Book, in which the rules for government officials are laid down. According to the anti-corruption body, however, this does not go far enough. A separate integrity strategy and code of conduct would be needed to take real steps.

The Council of Europe aims to promote human rights and democracy in Europe. The organisation was established after the Second World War, has 47 member states and operates independently of the European Union. The member states consult each other on how they can harmonise their national legislation as far as possible.

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