A report published today by the Council of Europe has pointed to several holes in the corruption prevention practices being implemented in Estonia's legislature and court system.
In its evaluation, the CE’s anti-corruption monitoring body GRECO (Group of States Against Corruption) noted that while Estonia remains one of the least corrupt countries in post-communist Europe, "more progress could be achieved" in the field of corruption prevention among members of Parliament, judges and prosecutors - the area specifically covered by the report.
Evaluators said that the country's legal framework for preventing corruption was satisfactory and noted that it is expected to improve further this April when the revised Anti-Corruption Act comes into force. However, they found gaps in the way laws have been applied.
Common problems mentioned in the report's summary included insufficient application of conflicts of interest rules for members of Parliament; an absence of, or insufficient definition of, ethical principles and rules of conduct for MPs; and a lack of practical guidance regarding acceptance of gifts associated with official duties.
Supervision of compliance with ethical principles and rules on conflicts of interests and disclosure of economic interests were weak, the evaluation found.
The problem has been compounded by an insufficient awareness of ethical requirements and the absence of any counseling or training programs on the subject, the report's authors said.
GRECO concluded its report with a list of 19 specific recommendations and an invitation for Estonia to submit a progress report on their implementation by the end of June 2014.