ISSN 2704-8098
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31 Luglio 2023

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Proposal for a EU Directive on Combating Corruption

L'articolo, qui pubblicato in inglese, è il testo rielaborato di una audizione dell'Autore sulla proposta di direttiva europea in materia di corruzione svolta il 14 luglio 2023 presso lo European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).


Summary: 1. Premise. – 2. Incriminations. – 3. Problems of definition and the principle of legality in criminal law. – 3.1. Abuse of functions. – 3.2. Trading in influence. – 4. Risk of over-criminalisation and the principle of proportionality in criminal law. – 5. Potential residual loopholes in incriminations and outdated provisions. – 6. Backwardness of the model of legal persons’ liability as outlined in the proposed directive. – 7. Other provisions: jurisdiction, statute of limitations and investigative tools. – 8. Conclusion.


Abstract: The anti-corruption package presented by the European Commission last May reaffirms the high political priority of combating corruption offences in the European Union. Concerning the proposal for a new EU directive on this matter, the existing significant disharmony and fragmentation of national legal systems calls for greater alignment at the European level, through the exercise of “non-exclusive” EU competence” in criminal matters, in order to combat serious crimes of corruption in a broader sense on a shared basis, taking into account their potential cross-border dimension as well. Nevertheless, various provisions included in the proposed directive raise serious doubts concerning the adherence to the principle of proportionality, specifically regarding what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the new EU instrument (Art. 5(4) TEU) and the unreasonable choice to largely equate responses to corruption in the public sector and in the private sector. Furthermore, concerns also arise with respect to the preservation of fundamental principles of criminal law, such as legality and the required degree of precision for criminal offences.