Anti-Corruption in Europe (ACE)

At the level of the EU, corruption is considered as one of the main challenges for European societies. Early in 2014, the EU Commission released its first anti-corruption report (not available online anymore, the project was dropped, details here) and in 2015, DG Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission launched an “Anti-corruption experience sharing programme” to “support Member States, local NGOs and other stakeholders in addressing specific challenges identified in the EU Anti-Corruption Report” [1]

Also, bribing foreign officials has become a crime in most countries, triggered by international legal instruments, like the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The risk of criminal prosecution for multinational companies and individuals has further increased due to national legislation with jurisdictions going beyond the national borders, such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or the UK Bribery Act 2010.

Post-Covid, corruption is even more widespread and entrenched in many sectors of public life. The fight against corruption continues to be among the EU’s top political priorities, however, the current EU legal framework on corruption is outdated and incomplete. There is still no legally binding instrument at the EU level to tackle corruption, i.e. the Anti-Corruption Directive

The EU Commission plans to update EU rules, including the creation of international standards such as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), binding in the EU. [2] 

The objective of those measures is to ensure that all forms of corruption are criminalised in all Member States, that legal persons may also be held responsible for such offences, and that these offences incur effective, proportionate, and dissuasive penalties

Considering the above the ECBA created a working group on anti-corruption and bribery in Europe (ACE).

The purpose of ACE working group is to improve knowledge and awareness among defence practitioners of various anti-corruption instruments, and procedural and other ECHR safeguards in anti-corruption proceedings (where such safeguards are usually lower due to big public interest of fight against corruption, i.e. confiscation), in order to provide effective advice and representation.

So far, the group has initiated several knowledge-sharing activities, issued 9 country reports on the topic and established a European-wide network of contacts with experience in corruption cases.

In addition, the group also aims to inform and advocate on procedural and other ECHR safeguards in cases of corporate criminal liability (application of these safeguards to legal entities i.e. their representatives), and principle of ne bis in idem in cases of legal and natural persons belonging to the same factual situations (CJEU judgement Orsi and Baldetti).

Due to the new EU legislative initiatives, the group plans to be included in the consultations during the relevant legislative processes, and publish statements in response to the proposed measures.

ACE working group will be working closely with the EPPO working group due to the proximity with the material scope of the EPPO regulation.

The group is being co-chaired by Amedeo Barletta and Vladimir Hrle.

The members of ACE are:

  • Alexis Anagnostakis (Greece)
  • Adriana de Buerba (Spain)
  • Jurjan Geertsma (The Netherlands)
  • Wiliam Glover (Ireland)
  • Albert Janet (France)
  • Mihai Mareș (Romania)
  • Anna Oehmichen (Germany)
  • Juan Palomino (Spain)
  • Olga Prosyanyuk (Ukraine)
  • Andrea Puccio (Italy)
  • Veronica Spiteri (Malta)
  • Jaanus Tehver (Estonia)
  • Chris Whalley (United Kingdom)


 [1] Cf. 

[2] Cf.

ECBA Statement on the new proposed Directive on Combating Corruption  - November 2023

Overview on anti-corruption rules and regulations - country reports


The European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) welcomes the EU Commission’s new initiative to tackle corruption.

The Commission drafted a new Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Combating Corruption (Proposal). The ECBA underlines the need to respect the higher standard for procedural safeguards and due process principle and fair  trials also in this very sensitive field of law.