Almost two thirds of Europeans believe that corruption is a problem in their country and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation worse, according to a report.
62% of the 40,000 Europeans surveyed by Transparency International for its Global Corruption Barometer, believe that government corruption is a big problem in their country.
About a third of the 27 countries of the bloc also affirmed that corruption has worsened in the last 12 months, as can be seen in the following graphic.
Healthcare is one of the hot spots for corruption, which Transparency International considers of particular concern given the global health crisis.
The NGO found that the 29% of Europeans have used their personal contacts to receive medical care. Nor do most people believe that their government has not managed the pandemic transparently.
“The EU is often seen as a bastion of integrity, but these results show that countries in the region remain vulnerable to the insidious effects of corruption“Delia Ferreira Rubio, president of Transparency International, said in a statement.
“During a health crisis, using personal connections to access public services can be as damaging as paying bribes. Lives can be lost when people with contacts get a vaccine or medical treatment before people with more urgent needs. It is It is crucial that governments across the EU redouble their efforts to ensure a fair and equitable recovery from the ongoing pandemic, “he added.
The survey also looked at other areas of corruption, such as the links between business and politics. An average of 53% of EU citizens believe that their government is controlled by private interests. See the graph below.
This opinion is strongly held in Slovenia (70%), Bulgaria and Cyprus (both 68%) and the Czech Republic (67%), but it is a minority in the Scandinavian countries.
Members of parliament are considered the most corrupt, followed by business executives, bankers, and government officials, including the office of the president and prime minister.
In general, more than half of those surveyed think that large companies tend to avoid paying taxes and that companies often use bribes and connections to win contracts. Only 21% of Europeans think that corrupt officials face the right repercussions.
“These results should be a wake-up call for both national governments and the EU institutions. Corruption is undermining citizens ‘trust and policy makers must listen to citizens’ concerns“stated Michiel van Hulten, Director of Transparency International EU.
“There are many immediate measures that can be taken to remedy these problems, such as increasing the transparency of lobbyists at national and EU level or the fight against tax evasion. And EU policies to protect whistleblowers and fight money laundering must be quickly and effectively transposed into national law. “, he concluded.