EPAC

The European Partners against Corruption (EPAC) is an independent, informal network bringing together more than 60 anti-corruption authorities and police oversight bodies from Council of Europe Member Countries. Of diverse origin, they have different kinds of competences and varied legal forms. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is also a member, whereas the authority of Kosovo enjoys observer status.

EPAC offers a medium for practitioners to share experiences, identify opportunities, and cooperate across national borders in developing common strategies and high professional standards. Every year, EPAC members organize a professional conference, together with EACN since 2008, and have a number of working groups operating throughout the year.

The network was initiated in 2001 under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. Twenty-five heads of police oversight bodies representing the 15 European Union Member States of the time recognized the necessity of increased police oversight cooperation as a way of better addressing shared challenges and finding unified responses. As a first step, they decided to convene for meetings on an annual basis.

In 2004, ten additional countries joined the European Union. In the process of incorporating the acquis communautaire into their legislation, the new Member States established specialized anti-corruption authorities which, to some extent, became mandated with police oversight and preventing and combating corruption. From this point forward, anti-corruption authorities were also granted a mandate within EPAC alongside police oversight bodies.

The network was officially inaugurated during the AGIS conference on the Enhancement of Operational Cooperation in Fighting Corruption in the European Union, held in Vienna, Austria, in November 2004. After the European Union’s enlargement in 2007, Bulgarian and Romanian authorities also joined the network.

In 2009, the EPAC Constitution was unanimously adopted during the Annual Professional Conference in Nova Gorica, Slovenia. In addition to the 27 European Union Member States of the time, EPAC membership was opened to anti-corruption authorities and police oversight bodies from Council of Europe Member Countries. Authorities from Albania, Croatia, F.Y.R. Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway and Serbia, having been observers before, became members.