The pandemic has increased the risk of corruption in Italy, the EU says

The pandemic has increased the risk of corruption in Italy, the EU says

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The pandemic has increased the risk of corruption in Italy, the EU says

Time.news – The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk of corruption and infiltration in Italy, just as the simplification dl of July last year risks “promoting corruption”. Instead, the “lack of independence of the media” and “intimidation and threats to journalists” are worrying. It is the photo of Italy taken in the report on the rule of law in the European Union published today by the Brussels executive.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly increased the risk of corruption and corruption-related offenses to further infiltrate the Italian legal economy,” writes the European Commission. “According to the police, criminals benefited in particular from the purchases of small private businesses, such as restaurants in financial difficulty due to the pandemic, and health products, including masks, protective devices and medical equipment, which can serve as a means of facilitating other crimes related to corruption, such as money laundering “, explain the technicians in Brussels according to which” the lack of resources, the limited legal experience and expertise affect the ability of law enforcement authorities to effectively prosecute and punish foreign corruption. “

In detail, “The excessive time spent in trials, especially at the appeal level, continues to be an obstacle to the fight against corruption and extensive reforms are still pending in Parliament to streamline criminal procedures”.

And some measures adopted by the Italian government to respond to the Covid emergency do not help, in particular the Commission points the finger at the so-called simplification decree introduced exactly one year ago. “The decree law on digital simplification and innovation measures adopted in July 2020 introduced a special regime for the award of public contracts”, reads the report: “the measures focus on rapid procedures and direct awards without competition official, on simplified award procedures and on penalties for those who suspend or slow down the award and execution of public works, all things that risk promoting corruption“.

The decision to cancel public funding for parties, on the other hand, makes politicians more influential. “Parties have to finance themselves almost exclusively through private donations from individual donors or legal entities. This has created a significant reliance on parliamentarians to fund political campaigns with their own resources,” making political actors more dependent on private donations and more vulnerable to undue influence“, writes the Commission.

“There are concerns regarding the capacities and resources of supervisory and control bodies”, highlights the EU executive. A further critical element is “the practice of channeling donations through foundations and political associations before they are transferred to political parties can present an obstacle to public reporting, as such transactions are difficult to track and monitor”.

In addition to the independence of politicians, there is also concern in Brussels about the “lack of independence of the media, particularly in the audiovisual sector” as well as the “continuing to cause concern” the “numerous physical attacks and death threats, as well as others. forms of intimidation against journalists “.

Finally, as regards the judiciary, Brussels invites Italy to “take into account the recommendations of the Council of Europe” as regards the modification of the elections of the members of the CSM.

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