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Heavy toll in Europe’s war on corruption

  • February 4th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Corruption EUThe European Commission has released its first comprehensive report on corruption, revealing large scale malfeasance across all of the 28 European union  states.

The document puts the cost of corrupt practices at €120-billion a year (A$185-6-billion; xe.com, 4.2.14), just under the total budget of the EU institutions.

It ranges from low-level bribery of officials to full-scale tax evasion in the corporate and professional world.

The problem is identified as being most intense in  the Balkans region – Bulgaria, Greece and Romania – and minimized in Scandinavia – Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

“Corruption undermines citizens’ confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law, it hurts the European economy and deprives States from much-needed tax revenue”, said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

Cecilia Malmström2“Member States have done a lot in recent years to fight corruption, but today’s Report shows that it is far from enough.

“The Report suggests what can be done, and I look forward to working with Member States to follow it up.”

See full report: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/docs/acr_2014_en.pd, (4.2.14).

The impact of corrupt activity is demonstrated in official survey results, a Eurobarometer report showing this week that three quarters (76%) of Europeans think corruption is widespread, and more than half (56%) think the level of corruption in their country has increased over the past three years. One out of twelve Europeans (8%) say they have experienced or witnessed a case of corruption in the past year. See http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_397_en.pdf, (4.2.14).

The European Union launched a large scale program against corruption, both in  government  and in private enterprise, at the start of the decade, outlined in  a succession of briefing documents.

See   EC, Brussels, Corruption. http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/index_en.htm, (4.2.14).

See EUAustralia Online, Corruption in government, in the EU, 28.2.12; search ‘corruption’.

Its program is founded on recognising and acting on  the competence of the EU to set up joint laws and programs for a uniform assault on  the problem, so ti can be applied with equal force in every member country.

It takes in regulatory measures for business conduct and trade; education, training, and promotion al work for consciousness raisin g on the issue; strengthening of courts, and stepped up law enforcement by police.

Linked activity is focused on organized crime, such as the secondment of a battalion of specialist officials to Bulgaria and Romania, to begin the long campaign against entrenched criminality, shortly after their accession to EU membership in  January 2007.

The report issued this week is the first issue in what is planned as a series of annual statements tracking action and results.

It has been preceded by a series of specialized reports on aspects of corruption.

Reference

European Commission , Brussels, Corruption. http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/index_en.htm, (4.2.14).

___ Anti-Corruption report, 3.2.14.
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/anti-corruption-report/index_en.htm, (4.2.14).

___ Eurobarometer, Special Reports: Special Eurobarometer 397, Corruption Report, Fieldwork February – March 2013, Publication February 2014.  http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_397_en.pdf, (4.2.14).

___ Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: EUn anti-corruption report, 3.2.14, COM (2014) 38 final.
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/corruption/docs/acr_2014_en.pdf, (4.2.14).

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