Money in politics is a double-edged sword. It is a necessary component of the democratic process, enabling the expression of political views and interests. Yet, if the financing of political parties and election campaigns are not adequately regulated and monitored, money may also be a means for powerful special interests to exercise undue influence, and capture the policy process.

Over the past 25 years, there has been growing interest in political finance amongst international organisations, legislative bodies, civil society groups and academics. This period also saw the introduction of political finance regulations in many countries around the world. Indeed, virtually every country now regulates this area, although the scope and nature of that regulation differ from country to country.

There are a number of agreed principles about the goals to be achieved by regulating political finance. By contrast, the implementation of political finance laws has received less attention, and there is very little empirical research into the strengths and weaknesses of various operational approaches. Although sound legislation is vital for any robust political finance system, without effective implementation, the system may fall short.

In Greece, political party funding has recently come under scrutiny, as there have been several allegations concerning the misuse of political funding by senior politicians and political parties. Greece’s National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) identifies political financing as one of the key areas of reform and the government has made various efforts to adapt its legal framework. Nevertheless, challenges remain in effectively implementing some parts of the current legislation, and additional capacities are needed for a monitoring authority to ensure adequate compliance with existing regulations.

This report provides guidance for enhancing the Greek system of financing democracy. It addresses the challenges in implementing political finance legislation and proposes tools to overcome them. Additionally, it reviews the existing legal framework, especially in relation to the provisions of private funding, information disclosure, oversight and law enforcement, and suggests a number of ways to make it more effective.

This report was prepared by the Public Sector Integrity Division of the OECD Directorate for Public Governance as part of the Greece-OECD Project on Technical Support for Anti-Corruption. Under the supervision of Sarah Dix, the work was led by Yukihiko Hamada and Lisa Klein with guidance from Julio Bacio Terracino. Angelos Binis provided key insights while Katerina Kanellou facilitated interviews with Greek stakeholders. Laura McDonald managed communications and editing. The text was edited by Julie Harris with inputs from Meral Gedik, and Alpha Zambou provided essential administrative support.

The OECD would like to thank the General Secretariat Against Corruption (GSAC) for their openness and initiative throughout the process. The OECD is also grateful to experts for sharing their experiences and knowledge, especially those from the Greek Parliament’s Special Service of the Committee for the Control of the Asset Declarations, the Head of the Cabinet of the Minister of Interior, officials from the Ministry of Interior, and Vouliwatch.

This document was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

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