In a report published on 11 February, the Council of Europe Anti-Corruption Group (GRECO) acknowledges the comprehensive legal and institutional framework developed by Lithuania to prevent and fight corruption among members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. It also stresses that the authorities now need to shift their focus to ensuring that the legal norms are well understood and properly enforced, GRECO said.
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Despite the efforts of the many institutions responsible in this field, the perceived levels of corruption in Lithuania are still above EU members' average. Levels of public trust in the parliament and the judiciary are particularly low, even though some studies show a certain improvement in recent years, the report says.

In the view of GRECO, the Seimas of Lithuania in particular needs to demonstrate its commitment to addressing matters of ethics and integrity in a more proactive manner. Compliance with rules on conflicts of interest and other rules of conduct needs to be properly monitored and enforcement action be taken when necessary. In-house channels must be developed to promote and safeguard integrity and access to information needs to be improved in selected areas, notably as regards the work of committee meetings.

Also, the judiciary needs to pursue and intensify its efforts to address the gap in public confidence, with particular attention to be paid to education to improve the drafting of judicial decisions and to institutional discussions on ethical issues. The procedure for the appointment of judges is another area of concern, which must be addressed in order to increase judicial independence and public confidence, says the report.

The prosecution service faces similar challenges as the judiciary, being also perceived as a close institution, in which there is mistrust in the process of recruitment and promotion. It must address this confidence gap by stepping up its communication with the public and increasing the transparency and objectivity of appointments.

GRECO is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. Lithuania joined GRECO in 1999.

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