“I don't think we need more laws surrounding corruption. The laws we have are enough – we just need to implement them well and have institutions that work as quickly as possible acting on said laws. Having too many laws creates confusion and takes away clarity”, he explained.

Speaking to journalists at an informal meeting held at the court’s headquarters in Lisbon, José Tavares stressed, however, that such a stance “does not mean that laws cannot be improved”. He went on to say that, in his view, there is “everything necessary to prevent acts of corruption” in the current Portuguese legal system.

Need for stability

Deputy Attorney General Orlando Romano, who is also a member of the Corruption Prevention Council (CPC), stressed that, despite the need to monitor ongoing changes in society, it is also important to ensure greater stability at the legislative level.

“The permanent change of laws creates a great deal of instability. If we are always changing and we don't commit to applying those laws properly, we are going in a bad direction. We can't keep changing the rules. There are no immutable laws, but there should be no laws that are permanently changing,” said the magistrate, adding: “Clear laws are needed. The most important thing is to achieve a balance between stability and evolution”.

Acting within reason

At the same time, Orlando Romano considered a possible increase in penalties for crimes linked to corruption, saying that equating the penalties of these crimes with crimes such as murder could even be considered unconstitutional.

“If we punished corruption with a penalty equal to murder, it may even be unconstitutional. Corruption is serious, but we must act within reason. Repression plays an important role in prevention, but it will never fully eliminate corruption. Strict penalties do not solve everything”, he stated.