By Betty Henderson • 04 May 2023 • 12:00
The move follows up on Ursula von der Leyen’s commitment against corruption and could see Spanish law change.
The European Commission’s proposal on anti-corruption was announced on Wednesday, May 3 and suggests a minimum prison sentence of at least five years, which is more than the four years currently set by Spain’s national law. This could force Spain to revise its laws if the proposal becomes law.
The EU’s proposal aims to standardise penalties and sentences for all corruption-related crimes, including abuse of power and money laundering, instead of just bribery, which is the only crime covered by the current anti-corruption legislation. The new proposal would expand the scope to include a range of other offences.
The Spanish government has stated that it is currently “studying the proposal” and may need to make changes to its laws to comply with the new European legislation. If approved, the proposal would be negotiated by the EU’s Justice Ministers and Parliament before becoming law.
However, this move is likely to be met with mixed reactions in Spain. The previous reform to corruption sentences, which benefitted several Catalan politicians, is still fresh in many people’s minds. It remains to be seen how this will impact Spanish politics.
Spain grappled with corruption in recent years, with several high-profile cases in recent years involving politicians, businessmen and even members of the royal family.
The proposed EU law could be seen as a step towards increasing transparency and accountability in Spain’s political and financial systems, but it remains to be seen whether it will have a significant impact on the country’s longstanding corruption issues.
However, the EU’s new proposal sends a strong message that embezzlement and extortion will not be tolerated and that all member states should implement strict penalties for corrupt practices.
By standardising the penalties and sentences for corruption-related crimes, the EU is taking a step towards creating a more transparent and fair system across all member states.
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