• Germany's news in English
 

Firms: We need UN anti-corruption law

Published: 09 Aug 2012 10:06 GMT+02:00

Some of Germany's best-known company bosses have signed the letter, including Siemens, Daimler, Allianz, Deutsche Bank, Lufthansa and ThyssenKrupp. They say parliament's failure to pass the agreement into law - even though Germany signed it at its inception - "harms the reputation of German companies in their activities abroad."

The UN Convention Against Corruption has been ratified by around 160 states since it was drawn up in 2003. Among the G20 member states, only Germany, Saudi Arabia and Japan have not ratified it, the business chiefs pointed out.

Their letter, dated end of June, was only published on Wednesday.

The convention requires its signatories to prosecute both corrupt and corruptible public officials, which would require a change in German law. Until now, only buying and selling MP's votes is illegal, but the UN convention also requires offering or accepting unjustified offers to be punished.

There have been several attempts to pass the proposals into law since 2003. In this legislative period, which began in 2009, all the bills have come from the opposition parties - the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party, and the Left party - and been blocked by the conservative Christian Democrats and the Free Democratic Party.

The government coalition is concerned that the convention makes no distinction between state employees and elected officials, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported on Wednesday.

They say that unlike civil servants, MPs are not bound to any specific duties - parliamentarians are free and must be able to make free decisions.

"The actions of MPs should be bound by Bundestag rules and not criminal law," argued Siegfried Kauder, CDU chairman of the parliamentary committee that examined the proposals.

The coalition fears that state prosecutors would begin investigating MPs’ meetings with lobby groups and the invitations they accept to meet industry associations and individual companies.

The German companies say the failure to ratify the treatment has a real effect on their businesses activities abroad, and makes them look hypocritical.

"It always appears inconsistent if German companies require that their foreign business partners to conform to anti-corruption rules, but Germany as a state does not want to ratify the UN's anti-corruption convention," said Stefan Wernicke head legal advisor to the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).

The Local/AFP/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:05 August 9, 2012 by twisted
"They say that unlike civil servants, MPs are not bound to any specific duties - parliamentarians are free and must be able to make free decisions."

In other words, I don't want to be prosecuted if I should break the law....I'm an MP and above what affects the common man and woman....another "you people" type of comment.
18:18 August 9, 2012 by lenny van
The refusal to pass this U.N. agreement, because of the opposition of the MPs from the capitalist parties in the Germany, comes as no surprise. What is more subtle is the actions of company bosses, who signed the letter urging the Bundestag to pass it.

The bosses regret that the reputation of their companies is tarnished. That is obvious, but what motivates the bosses of these companies to do this? For certain, it has nothing to do with honor or morality in the country that is seen in the world as having the highest percentage of money-worshiping, spiritual zombies.

In the Uncle Remus stories, Brer Rabbit begs farmer McGregor, "Please don't throw me into the Briar patch.", when what he wants is just the opposite.

It's no secret that many of these companies have often got caught stealing from the vegetable patch. They understand that the more their reputations are tarnished, the more closely they will be scrutinised and make it more difficult for them to get the goodies for themselves. They know that their partners, the MPs, have no interest in getting off the same gravey train that they are riding together.

In the fifties and sixties there was a well known symbiotic relationship in America called the military-industrial complex. Today, this kind of mutually beneficial relationship exists in Germany between the conservative parties, the judicial system and the former 19th century cartels, which are now the giants of capitalism in modern Germany.

The bosses of industry and finance in Germany know the MPs will do nothing.
08:31 August 13, 2012 by wood artist
In the US we're currently "enjoying" the obvious benefits of the freedom to buy politicians. We're not doing a very good job of stopping it, and I would strongly support Germany if they decide to prevent it. Candidly, it just isn't working here, or, alternatively, it's working too well. We've actually been discussing having the members of Congress wear clothing like German football players, showing the names of the people who bought them through sponsorship, although in our case it may need to be more like the jumpsuits worn by NASCAR drivers, since many of them have sold themselves many times over.

It wouldn't make government any better, but at least you could see which companies you're fighting against.

wa
19:42 August 13, 2012 by neunElf
Hey wood artist, would that include Public Employee Unions as well?
06:39 November 5, 2012 by JoaoPT
How can one be anti-UN, if there is no UN, if there are no rights, if there are no war, if there is no country, it is all a facade to get money and with that money control all people around the world. If people get registered in they born place, but they get nothing for that, like receiving money every week because they borned there, but no, they are educated to work, and if they earn any money they have to pay others to live in the place where they born, because there are no country, unless you are a disabled person, then the others that can work have to pay for you to live at their expenses, but all is a facade because in order to disabled people receive your money, many others work to that happen, and that process costs more than the disabled people gets; and the UN is all that and more, in order to prevent the world of produce, they implement rules that are so expensive that those that have tried it, spend more money that the one that is earned, which makes everyone that works under the UN rules to have more debts than credits; and those that do not produce under UN rules are considered criminals, and get sent to jail or killed. But bottom line it is all about money, even UN rules are used and abused just to get money, the rest is scenarios to kill and destroy any chance of people to be independent, and force them to pay taxes for nothing, cause they pay taxes and then they have to pay for food and everything else, and even then they get expired food and goods, marked has valid...
Today's headlines
North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale
Kim Jong Un has accidentally wounded his dignity while trying to stop his dignity being wounded. Photo: DPA

North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale

North Korea turned harsh diplomatic language against Berlin's film festival in the mistaken belief that The Interview, the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy about a murder plot against dictator Kim Jong Un, will be screened there. READ  

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor
Muslims at prayer in Berlin's Sehitlik mosque. Photo: DPA

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor

SPD party leader Raed Saleh wants to create a contract with the Muslim community similar to the one between the town hall and Christian and Jewish groups that grants them official status. READ  

Cities see slower house price growth
Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg. Photo: DPA

Cities see slower house price growth

A trend for ever-faster growth in house prices across Germany was reversed in 2014, as prices rose by four percent compared with seven the previous year 2013. READ  

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school
The monk at his court appearance in Munich on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school

A monk and former teacher at a boarding school in the Bavarian alps pleaded not guilty on Thursday at his trial for abusing two pupils and attempted abuse of two more. READ  

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists
Bribery photo: Shutterstock

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists

Campaigners say the states can do more to fight corruption after a report showed that Brandenburg, Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg had the highest numbers of cases. READ  

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour
Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi speaking in Florence. Photo: DPA

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour

The eurozone's deep divisions were set to be given an airing in Florence on Friday as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel days before crucial elections in Greece. READ  

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement
Photos: DPA

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement

Germany would be prepared to negotiate a free-trade agreement between the European Union and Russia as a way out of the deadlocked Ukraine conflict, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. READ  

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister
Photo: DPA

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister

Environmentalists and train companies reacted with outrage to Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt's plan to allow more giant "gigaliner" trucks on motorways before they've passed a trial period. READ  

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder
Demonstrators in Dresden with photos of murder victim Khaled Idris Bahray

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder

Police in Dresden have arrested a man on suspicion of killing his flatmate, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, on Monday January 12th. READ  

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism
Photo: DPA

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism

After a false dawn for campaigners against daily topless models in Britain's Sun newspaper, The Local talks to the women campaigning against sexism in Germany's biggest-selling tabloid. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,438
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd