News / Economy

Corruption Costs European Economy 120 Billion Euros a Year

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 3, 2014.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 3, 2014.
Lisa Bryant
Corruption costs European Union countries more than $160 billion a year, undermining their efforts to emerge from its economic crisis.

The EU recently conducted its first survey on corruption and its impact on businesses and citizens in the 28-member bloc.

More than three quarters of Europeans believe corruption is widespread in their country - and it seems their fears might be justified. In its first report on corruption across the European Union, the bloc's executive arm finds corruption touches many parts of daily life here, from procuring government contracts to political party financing.

Presenting the main findings at a news conference in Brussels, European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said corruption's yearly price tag was probably more than 120 billion euros - or about $161 billion. She says that's hurting the bloc's recovery from its economic crisis.

"The report shows clearly that the level of corruption varies from member state to member state, but it affects all member states," she said. "There are no corruption-free states."

The report is based on corruption perceptions and experiences on the part of EU citizens and companies. While it doesn't rank the block's 28 members, it does find that perceptions of widespread corruption are highest in countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic.

At least one in 12 European say they've experienced or witnessed corruption over the past 12 months. And 40 percent of EU companies consider corruption a problem in doing business.

While the report suggests how countries can crack down on corruption - and offers examples of good practices - it does not call for sanctions or legal reforms. But Malmstroem believes it will generate discussion and action among member states.

"Of course, it takes more than a report to eradicate corruption," she said. "But as we are finding our way out of the economic crisis, this can be a tool. We cannot afford to drag our feet…the price for not acting is simply too high."

Corruption watchdog Transparency International calls the commission's report an "important first step," but EU office head Carl Dolan says it could have gone further.

"It's interesting that there isn't a chapter here on corruption in the EU institutions…looking at things like revolving doors, lobbying, public procurement - all of which are big things for the EU institutions themselves," he said.

Transparency International will be publishing its own report on corruption within those EU institutions in April.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.