Just how corrupt is Europe?

New report reveals corruption due to lack of transparency and accountability contributing to the eurozone’s debt crisis.

Last Modified: 08 Jun 2012
National Integrity System Assessment Netherlands [in English, 345 pages, see www.transparency.nl, go to TI-NL-NIS-report.pdf(SECURED).]

Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) says the close relationships between governments and big businesses are enabling corruption and fuelling the eurozone’s debt crisis.The warning comes in a new report that says poor governance contributed to financial and political scandals in almost every European country during 2011.

Greece, Italy and Spain are listed as among the most corrupt countries on the continent.
Political parties, businesses and the public sector are said to be the worst institutions for corruption, while electoral commissions and state auditors performed the best.
The report named Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain – the eurozone’s most financially-troubled nations – as having deeply-rooted problems in their public administrations where officials are not accountable for their actions.
Political lobbying is also seen as a major cause for concern. Out of 25 European countries 19 have no regulations on political lobbying.
Party funding, with the influence of lobbyists on decision-makers remaining veiled in secrecy, is seen as ripe for abuse by big businesses. The report says Europe’s political parties must do more to make funding transparent.

And lastly the report found high levels of corruption in public procurement, where politicians and business leaders use their influence to win contracts and sway policies.
The recommendations TI made to European legislators to counter rising corruption include implementing mandatory regulations on political party funding and a cap on donations; a mandatory register of lobbyists; passing comprehensive laws granting access to information.

“Corruption is not the only cause [for Europe’s financial crisis but] it is an important contributing factor…In all these areas [mentioned in the report] there is room for making progress but governments need to act quickly before things get worse.”

Chandu Krishnan, the executive director of Transparency International UK

“Access to the Executive [branch of government] is being sold to businesses, clearly means that they can influence policy…The biggest danger is that businesses can find ways to pass a lot of money to people in government to get their way to bend the rules slightly in their favour.”

Meghnad Desai, an economist and a member of UK’s House of Lords


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