Yesterday, the European Commission proposed harmonizing national criminal laws against corruption and increasing anti-corruption penalties across the European Union. The commission’s proposal would also apply to EU-level lawmakers in Brussels who are subject to the laws of Belgium, which would also have to harmonize its laws.
But some Eastern European member states, like Hungary, Poland and Romania, have bristled against the EU interfering in their national practices.
There is currently no common definition of corruption crimes among EU countries. To the contrary, as Commission Vice President Vera Jourova noted at a press conference announcing the proposal yesterday, there are wide differences between member states’ definitions and the penalties they level. “This makes cross-border investigations more difficult and creates loopholes that are used by criminals,” Jourova added.