EU tells Italy to beef up corruption fight, Napolitano says

Lazio scandal puts pressure on stalled anti-corruption bill

EU tells Italy to beef up corruption fight, Napolitano says

(ANSA) - Rome, September 26 - President Giorgio Napolitano on Wednesday said the European Union had called on Italy to beef up its fight against corruption following the country's latest scandal related to the alleged embezzlement of millions of euros in public money at regional party offices in Lazio. "Europe asked us to make a serious effort to fight corruption," said Napolitano. An anti-corruption bill passed in the House this June but has been held up in the Senate. Pessure to implement the bill has increased since the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, headed by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, was hit by a corruption scandal that caused its governor in Lazio, the region around Rome, to quit this week. The fact that the bill does not bar people who have received a definitive criminal sentence from being MPs until after next year's elections has sparked polemics. Justice Minister Paola Severino has said the government will try to improve the bill during its passage through the Senate. A number of lawmakers from various parts of the political spectrum have been embroiled in corruption cases recently. The bill does bar people convicted of extremely serious crimes, such as involvement in organised crime and terrorism, from running. Responding to pressure from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Monday, Premier Mario Monti promised to implement balanced anti-corruption reforms.

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