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2 - The European Union policy against corruption in the light of international developments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2011

Patrycja Szarek-Mason
Affiliation:
Adam Mickiewicz University
Christina Eckes
Affiliation:
Universiteit van Amsterdam
Theodore Konstadinides
Affiliation:
University of Surrey
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

Since the 1990s, when the negative consequences of corruption on social, political and economic systems came to be widely recognised, combating corruption has become an important international policy problem. In 1998, Brademas and Heimann wrote that ‘after years of being tolerated with a mixture of apathy, cynicism, and denial, corruption is becoming a target of serious international action.’ The prevention and combating of corruption ceased to be a purely domestic policy matter and countries agreed to regulate some aspects of the fight against corruption at the international level.

International cooperation has become particularly urgent in cases of cross-border corruption. Globalisation opened up new frontiers not only for trade and business, but also for corrupt practices. Differences in laws and procedures across countries rendered the prosecution of cross-border corruption difficult for national authorities. The countries were, therefore, compelled to agree upon certain rules facilitating investigation and prosecution to ensure that cross-border corruption was dealt with more efficiently. As a result, the first international initiatives focused on the approximation of offences for the purposes of effective mutual legal assistance and extradition.

Moreover, cooperation between countries made it possible to criminalise certain types of corruption. The primary example here is the bribery of foreign public officials. Individual countries were reluctant to prosecute their own companies which obtained commercial contracts abroad in exchange for bribery as that would put them at an economic disadvantage in comparison with countries that allowed such bribery.

Type
Chapter
Information
Crime within the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
A European Public Order
, pp. 43 - 75
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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References

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