Analysis
14 July 2021

The evaluation mission of the Sapin II law calls for a boost in France’s anti-corruption policy

Bastille Day Newsletter 2021 - Legislative, Regulatory & Policy Updates

 

On 7 July 2021, French Members of Parliament (“MPs”) Mr. Raphaël Gauvain and Mr. Olivier Marleix, submitted their information report on the evaluation of the “Sapin II” law[i]. About four years after the law came into force, the MPs have carried out in-depth assessment of the main contributions made by the “Sapin II” law and they formulated fifty proposals to improve the policy of fighting against corruption in France[ii].

These fifty proposals for improvement are in line with four main objectives:

  • Clarifying the institutional organization of anti-corruption policy in France[iii]. The MPs propose to strengthen the government’s steering of anti-corruption policy by regularly convening a specialized committee composed of representatives of various ministries. The French Anticorruption Agency would provide to this specialized committee a permanent secretariat and transfer its support and control missions to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (“HATVP”), in order to create a new single authority, the High Authority for Probity (proposals n° 10 and 11)[iv].
  • Promote the use of the judicial public interest agreement also known as “CJIP”[v]. To do so, it is recommended that the use of internal investigations be encouraged, by providing a better framework for their use and by offering more guarantees to individuals (proposal no. 27)[vi]. The MPs also suggest the creation a specific guilty plea procedure applicable to natural persons in cases of corruption and breach of probity offenses (proposal no. 26)[vii].
  • Strengthening the protection of whistleblowers and the quality of the processing of whistleblowers reports[viii]. The MPs suggest that the Defender of Rights (Défenseur des Droits) be given the role of directing whistleblower reports to the competent authorities and certifying the status of whistleblower. This certification, which could also be issued by the judge, would give the whistleblower a right to compensation by an indemnity fund (proposals n° 36 to 40)[ix].
  • Improving transparency in lobbying activities[x]. The PMs recommend that public decision-makers be made more accountable by asking them to forward to their ethics officer the list of lobbyists with whom they have come into contact (proposal no. 46)[xi]. Finally, they propose to grant the HATVP the power to impose administrative sanctions so that it can give formal notice to an interest representative who does not comply with his or her obligations and extend its investigative powers to make controls more effective (proposal n°42)[xii].

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