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Corruption In The European Union 'Breathtaking'

Syuzanna Petrosyan |
February 5, 2014 | 3:25 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

(Wikimedia Commons)
(Wikimedia Commons)
EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has called the extent of corruption in Europe "breathtaking." The full report has showed that corruption costs the EU economy at least 120 billion euros.

The commission studied corruption in all 28 EU member states to produce the report. This was the first time it has done such a survey.

Three quarters of Europeans surveyed for the Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased.

Almost all companies in Greece, Spain and Italy believe it is widespread and, among businesses, belief is widespread that the only way to succeed is through political connections.

In Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, between 6% and 29% of respondents said they had been asked for a bribe, or had been expected to pay one, in the past 12 months. There were also high levels of bribery in Poland (15%), Slovakia (14%) and Hungary (13%), where the most prevalent instances were in healthcare.

At European level, more than 4 out of 10 companies consider corruption to be a problem for doing business. Fifty percent of the construction sector and 33% of the telecoms/IT companies felt it was a problem to a serious extent.

Read full report here.

In October 2012, former European Health Commissioner John Dalli was forced to quit after an associate was accused of asking for 60 million euros from a tobacco company in return for influencing EU tobacco law.

Organized crime groups also have sophisticated networks across Europe and there are at least 3,000 of them, according to the EU police agency Europol.

Human trafficking is one of the major issues facing the block with estimates of about 140,000 people trafficked, generating illicit revenue of $3 billion. Twenty seven of all trafficking victims detected globally are children.

Corruption is considered rare in Denmark, Finland and Sweden, according to the report, a finding that reflects the work of Transparency International's corruption perception index.

Reach Executive Producer Syuzanna Petrosyan hereFollow her on Twitter.



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