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EU to Implement Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Laws Across Member States

The Council of the EU has announced new legislation introducing a range of anti-corruption offences and penalties to be enforced across the European Union. Under this EU-wide measure, the following activities will be criminalized throughout the region: bribery in both public and private sectors, misappropriation, trading in influence, obstruction of justice, and enrichment from corruption offences.

EU to Implement Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Laws Across Member States

While many European nations already consider these actions illegal, the council highlighted the primary advantage of the new law: “For the first time at EU level, it brings together in one legal act rules on corruption in the public and private sectors.” This initiative aims to create a standardized approach to handling these crimes across the EU, establishing minimum penalties and sentences.

“All EU countries will be obliged to criminalise the same acts of corruption and define these acts in the same manner,” stated the Council of the EU. According to a statement from the council, “The criminal offences that will become illegal under EU law will be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least two to four years, depending on the offence.”

Individuals convicted of corruption offences may face additional penalties such as fines, removal from public office, disqualification from holding public office or exercising a public service function, withdrawal of permits, and exclusion from access to tender procedures and public funds.

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The new laws will also impose penalties on 'legal persons,' including companies. These penalties will range from fines amounting to at least 3% to 5% of their total worldwide turnover or at least €24 to €40 million, depending on the specific offence.

Member states will have jurisdiction over offences committed within their territory or by their nationals. Additionally, member states may choose to extend their jurisdiction to acts committed outside their territory in cases where the offender is a habitual resident, the offence is committed against a national or habitual resident, or the offence benefits a legal person established within their territory.

The Council of the EU emphasized that the 27 member states must ensure they have independent bodies dedicated to combating corruption. The council noted, “On the basis of this general approach reached, the Council will be able to enter into negotiations with the European Parliament, which already established its position in February 2024, in order to agree on a final legislative text.”



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