GRECO has sounded the alarm and the time has come for Serbia to get serious about fighting corruption, anti-corruption official Miroslav Milicevic told N1 on Monday.
Milicevic, who sits on the Anti-Corruption Council, said the message is that Serbia is not capable of implementing recommendations. “This shows the level of our readiness to enter the European Union,” he said, commenting a report by the Council of Europe’s GRECO anti-corruption watchdog.
The Serbian government formed a body to coordinate the fight against corruption following the publication of a GRECO report which said that Serbia failed to implement any of its recommendations made three years earlier.
“We are concerned about the warning and negative assessment. Identical warnings went to Luxembourg and Spain which means that this is serious. Everyone is scared of punishment but that is wrong, we should ask ourselves why there was no positive report, why we had no good evaluations in the fight against corruption,” Milicevic said.
“Some things require constitutional amendments but the will has to be shown for a lot of other things, we have to show that we want rule of law. Every admission that we haven’t done something is positive and it would be very good if we came up with specific things to do,” he said. According to Milicevic, the main criticism in the GRECO report was over parliamentary procedures which should allow enough time to discuss amendments. “There has to be a debate, draft laws cannot be rushed through,” he said.
The anti-corruption official said the media and access to information are crucial in the fight against corruption, adding that the Anti-Corruption Council had a hard time getting information on finances even though officials claim that they ordered the information handed over to the Council. Milicevic believes that the prosecution is the weakest link.