18th Mar 2018

€120 billion lost to corruption in EU each year

  • 'Deep-rooted corruption is a part of reality in many countries,' says EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom (Photo: European Commission)

An estimated €120 billion is lost to corruption each year throughout the 27 member states, the EU commissioner for home affairs Cecilia Malmstrom has said.

“In public procurement, studies suggest that up to 20 to 25 percent of the public contracts’ value may be lost to corruption,” said Malmstrom on Tuesday (5 March) at an anti-corruption seminar in Göteborg, Sweden.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) noted in a report out in the 2012 that the worse offenders in public procurement cases are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and Slovakia.

Public procurement contracts in the EU have an estimated worth of around 15 percent of the EU’s total GDP.

But EU legislation designed to ensure good governance on the contracts are often flouted, says TI. In some cases, the complexities of the laws and administrative burdens provide an additional incentive to find loopholes.

As an example, the transparency group found that three out of five managers of small companies in the Czech Republic believe they have to resort to bribery and kickbacks to win a public contract.

Europe’s poorest nation Bulgaria does not publish final procurement contracts. This practice is also common in Italy, notes the group.

In some cases, member states rolled back progress on fighting corruption after joining the Union.

TI says corruption-fighting practices in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have all weakened since EU accession.

It also notes that Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have serious deficits in public sector accountability.

“The links between corruption and ongoing-financial and fiscal crisis in these countries can no longer be ignored,” says TI.

The European Commission hopes to spur political will among member state leaders to tackle the problem by publishing an anti-corruption report later this year.

The report will address corruption trends across the EU and the policies in place to fight it.

Malmstrom said the report, by rendering public corruption practices in individual member states, will “to some extent, stimulate political commitment to fight corruption more vigorously.”

Meanwhile, Finland on Tuesday cited corruption as the primary reason why it too, along with Germany, will block Romania and Bulgaria’s bid to join the passport-free Schengen zone, reports Finish state-broadcaster Yle.

“Too many questions were left unanswered which we now have to deal with,” said Finland’s Interior minister Päivi Räsänen.

EU ministers of interior are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss the issue, among others.

Germany to veto Schengen enlargement

Germany says it will veto Romania and Bulgaria's bid to join the border-free Schengen area at a meeting in Brussels later this week.

EU told to create coalition against fake news

After almost two months of talks, a panel of experts set up by the EU commission have issued a series of recommendations on how to fight fake news or what they prefer to term 'disinformation'.

Poland defends judicial reforms, warns against EU pressure

Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented the Commission with 94-pages of arguments backing Warsaw's controversial judicial reforms - while his EU minister warns that constant conflict with Brussels could stoke anti-European sentiment.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere