Tuesday

6th Dec 2016

Survey: Croatia and Slovenia most corrupt in EU

  • Croatia is one of the most corrupt countries on the continent, according to a new survey (Photo: JasonParis)

Croatia, about to enter the EU, is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe according to a new survey. But Slovenia - an EU and eurozone member - is even worse.

The findings come in an annual report on corporate graft published on Tuesday (7 May) by the US-based financial services company, Ernst & Young.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It interviewed 3,459 company board members in 36 countries worldwide, including 22 EU member states.

It asked whether businesses offer bribes to win or retain contracts or if they deliberately misstate their financial performance.

Ninety percent of people in Croatia, which is to join the EU on 1 July, said "bribery/corrupt practices happen widely in business in this country."

The figure was 96 percent in Slovenia - which joined the EU in 2004 and which adopted the euro in 2007 - higher even than Kenya, on 94 percent.

Greece and Slovakia came next on 84 percent, followed by the Czech republic (73%), Portugal (72%), Hungary (70%), Spain (65%), Romania (61%) and Italy (60%).

The EU's three largest economies scored much better - France was on 27 percent, Germany 30 percent and the UK 37 percent.

Nordic countries Finland and Sweden came out as the least corrupt on 12 percent each.

Ernst & Young's top man on fraud investigations, David L. Stulb, linked the results to the financial crisis. He said in a foreword to the paper: "Our survey shows that to find growth and improved performance in this environment, an alarming number appear to be comfortable with … unethical conduct."

The report comes amid worries that Croatia will backslide on reform after it joins the Union.

A European Commission paper in March red-flagged the issue, urging Zagreb to crack down on organised crime and to adopt new measures to safeguard public tenders, to stop abuses in state-owned firms and to protect whistleblowers.

Meanwhile, the suspicion that Slovenia's ailing banks might be misstating their financial performance will not help Ljubljana to reassure markets that it does not need a bailout.

The Ernst & Young report also comes amid a new EU attempt to clean up one aspect of the shadow economy - tax evasion.

Speaking with Finnish PM Jyrki Katainen in Helsinki on Monday, EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy noted that EU leaders at a summit on 22 May will "step up the fight against tax evasion and tax fraud."

The EU tax commissioner, Algirdas Semeta, the same day told MEPs in Brussels he wants to tap "the huge pot of uncollected taxes which escape the public purse through fraud or evasion."

He added: "fraudsters and evaders have been able to use our single market as a playground for their activities."

Semeta is trying to get EU states to agree to automatic exchange of information on foreigners' bank accounts and to farm out the rules to nearby tax havens, such as Switzerland.

Austria and Luxembourg had opposed the move for years, but they recently changed their mind following German pressure.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)

Latest News

  1. Brexit deal must be done by October 2018, says EU negotiator
  2. Rising to the challenge of 'European Angst'
  3. Polish firm sues EU Commission over Gazprom privileges
  4. ID and police checks await all who enter and leave the EU
  5. Italy's Renzi to stay on to pass budget
  6. Dutch anti-Ukraine vote spawns 'app democracy' party
  7. EU agrees on debt measures for Greece
  8. EU scrambles to finalise gun-control reforms