That Italy has a bit of a problem with corruption is well known.
Transparency International ranked Italy in 61st place out of 168 nations in its 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in its recent Fourth Round Evaluation Report on Italy noted that while Italy was improving, it still had major problems on the conflicts of interest front.
You’ll find a few stories on Italy’s corruption issues here on Italy Chronicles too – just click on the word corruption and read (But don’t forget to come back here).
What could Italy do to fight corruption? Well, in the opinion of senior Italian magistrate, Piercamillo Davigo, there are two things that Italy could do that would make a big difference.
Firstly, Italy’s laws need to be changed to permit police officers to conduct “sting” type operations. Such operations would not only net the corrupt in the act, but they’d also deter others from going down corrupt paths.
Secondly, Italy should pass legislation to offer whistleblowers immunity from prosecution. This would encourage those who know about illicit goings on to speak out.
The trouble is, the legislation Mr Davigo would like is unlikely to ever see the light of day. Unfortunately, the political will to pass the two anti-corruption measures outlined above simply does not exist. Why should there be such a lack of political will? Well, you can work that out for yourself.
Is there any hope that such anti corruption laws will ever make it onto Italy’s law-books? Yes, there is a little. Italy’s Five Star Movement claims it wants to stamp out corruption but before it can pass laws such as the ones Mr Davigo would like to see, the 5 Star Movement will have to win a general election.
When will Italy next hold general elections? That’s an unknown. It might happen this year. Then again, it may happen in 2018. In the meantime, the politicos who lack the will to pass the laws Mr Davigo would like to see will be working out ways to draw up an electoral law that will make life very difficult for the Five Star Movement. This means that the Movement may never win power in Italy.
Until Italy gets serious about its corruption issues, the nation will not, in the opinion of this Italy watcher, reach its full potential. That would be a great pity.