The European Commission has warned about the level of corruption across the 28-nation bloc, saying it costs the EU economies about €120 billion (USD 162 billion) annually.
“The member states of the EU are not immune to this reality. Corruption varies in nature and extent from one country to another, but it affects all member states,” said the EU Anti-Corruption report, whose extracts were published on Monday based on two major opinion polls.
According to one of the surveys cited in the report, some 76 percent of EU citizens consider corruption to be widespread in their country and about 56 percent believe there has been an increase in the level of corruption over the past three years.
Another survey also found that around 43 percent of companies doing business in Europe see corruption as a problem.
Writing in Sweden’s Goeteborgs-Posten daily, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the extent of corruption in Europe is “breathtaking”.
Malmstroem, who is expected to present the full report on the issue later on Monday, also voiced concerns that corruption is eroding trust in democracy.
“Corruption undermines citizens’ confidence in democratic institutions and the result of law, it hurts the European economy and deprives states of much-needed tax revenue,” she said.[More]