German industry leaders urge government to ratify UN convention against corruption

Leading German CEOs appeal to the German Parliament that the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) should get brought into effect as soon as possible. Germany is one of the few countries not having ratified the agreement. Two other are Syria and Saudi-Arabia.

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“The lack of ratification is harming the reputation of German enterprises” was stated in an official document to all parliamentary group leaders which was published on Wednesday. The document stated a democratic state like Germany must show reliability and should show a bold stance against corruption and illegal business practices.
More than 30 companies have agreed to the initiative, including Siemens, Daimler, Allianz, Bayer, E.ON, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Deutsche Telekom, Linde and Metro.

The initial agreement had been signed already nine years ago. The signatory obligates to actively go against corrupt officials and in such cases work together on an international scale. Since then, over 160 countries have ratified this agreement. Only a few nations such as Germany, Syria and Saudi-Arabia have not done this yet.

The German ruling coalition is blocking the ratification because the German lawmakers have not yet been able to agree on proper regulation of bribery by German members of parliament. The conservative CDU and the liberal FDP are claiming that through a tightening of regulation the members of parliament would be inhibited to carry out their free practice. This could weaken people coming from private businesses and free professions such as lawyers or entrepreneurs to become MEP. Hence the quota of public sector employees would further increase, which might influence the substance of legislation in favor of the public sector.

The CEOs of the corporations urged the parliament to no longer postpone necessary revisions and argued, “upright members of parliament should not have to fear anything through stricter regulations.”
The group of states against corruption (GRECO) requested German in April to prompt its laws to fight against corruption and to align to international standards. The organization had given the German Parliament a deadline until the end of June. However, it has been unsuccessfully elapsed. GRECO is considering therefore sending in a control panel to Germany.

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