Transparency International has just published a comprehensive review of corruption- and integrity risks in the EU institutions. The EU Integrity System (EUIS) report analyses how ten EU institutions and bodies promote integrity, how they deal with the risk of corruption and how their policies help the fight against corruption in Europe. A conference to mark the launch of the report will be held in Brussels on 29 April.
When it comes to the European Council and the Council of the EU, the report (pages 50-86) notes strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses are identified at the level of internal rules and practices (which are sometimes still being developed, particularly in the case of the European Council, as a relatively young institution). The report also touches on less easily addressed weaknesses at the level of procedures, such as codecision, an issue also widely covered in scholarly literature.
Strengths in dealing with integrity risks stem from the high public exposure and peer pressure in these political institutions, as well as from compliance – sometimes voluntary – with existing codes and regulations. For the Council of the EU for example, compliance with the EU regulation on access to documents is tracked in an Annual report which also covers all other measures to ensure transparency of the legislative process (here the most recent edition). The Annual report addresses some of the findings contained in the Transparency International paper. The Council has dedicated websites on the Policy regarding access to European Council and Council documents and on the broader notion of Legislative transparency.