The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has called on France to intensify its efforts to combat bribery of foreign official by some French companies. The organization \"is concerned by the lacklustre response of the authorities in actual or alleged cases of foreign bribery involving French companies,\" the OECD Working Group on Bribery said in its latest report, adding that \"sanctions are not sufficiently dissuasive.\" Only 33 foreign bribery proceedings have been initiated and five convictions have been handed downsince France joined the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in 2000. The working group urged the country to \"increase the maximum fines and make full use of confiscation and additional penalties that are available under the law, in particular debarment from public procurement.\" The group said more efforts are needed to avoid the creation of obstacle to investigations and prosecutions in foreign bribery cases and called on the government to provide adequate resources for investigations and prosecutions in corruption cases. Meanwhile, the group recognized France\'s efforts to increase the independence of prosecutors and to raise the awareness of officials and companies to report suspected corruption, even though the reporting mechanisms need to be strengthened. Moreover, the group praised France for having made substantial legislative progress by introducing protection of whistle-blowers into French law.