Sunday

15th Dec 2019

Italy seen as corrupt as Greece, Romania and Bulgaria

  • Laundering of Mafia money is a problem for the entire EU (Photo: BLPerk)

Italy, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria are seen as equally corrupt among EU countries, while Denmark is the least graft-prone country, according to the yearly corruption perception index published by Transparency International on Wednesday (3 December).

The index scores and ranks countries around the world based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Finland and Sweden also score well, coming in directly after Denmark, according to the index which relies on a combination of surveys and assessments.

Even as EU countries have higher scores than countries like Russia, Ukraine or Turkey, Transparency International notes that in 2014 there were numerous scandals in "old Europe".

In France, Spain and Italy they included a former president, a current regional president and members of the royal family, "not to mention dozens of politicians and influential business people".

EU citizens also protested against corruption in Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Corruption Perceptions Index scores in many EU countries remain unchanged or have improved slightly.

"In part, this is because the economic situation has stabilised, at least at present, and in some cases, governments are starting to tackle endemic corruption," TI explains.

It cites Greece as an example where recent reforms have moved the country up by three points - even as it still has the lowest score in the EU, together with Italy, Romania and Bulgaria.

"We also welcome the gradual progress made by the UK in the last few years, which saw its score increase by two points, indicating the effectiveness of the Bribery Act on the UK’s international reputation," TI writes.

Tax-dodging is also an issue for the EU as a whole.

“We know that any effort to stop corruption in one country is undermined as long as corrupt officials are allowed to hide their money in another. That is why the EU must act in the next few weeks to prevent money laundering and clamp down on the secret companies that mask corruption,” said Carl Dolan, head of the Transparency International EU office.

TI notes that two months ago, a money laundering investigation was launched involving 19 UK companies in an alleged conspiracy to launder €15.7 billion of dirty money.

The funds are suspected of coming from “major criminals and corrupt officials around the world”, channelled from Russia with the involvement of Latvian and Moldovan banks.

Other examples involving shell companies and opaque ownership structures in the EU include: stolen assets from the former regime in Ukraine, Europe’s horsemeat scandal, and Italian mafia groups such as Cosa Nostra and Camorra.

Investigation

EU and Kosovo corruption: Scratching the surface?

The EU has asked an ageing academic to look into Eulex corruption allegations. But former officials want to know why it failed to convict a single "big fish" in the past five years?

Renzi victorious after electoral overhaul

Italy is due to shed the tradition of having the most short-lived governments in the EU, after this week's approval of a new electoral law championed by Renzi.

EU raises alarm on Bulgaria corruption

Seven years after joining the EU, Bulgaria has done little to curb corruption and organised crime in a threat to its sovereignty and to European unity.

Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress

Italians, Czechs and Latvians perceive less corruption than a few years ago in Transparency International's annual ranking. The Berlin-based NGO said Finland was a 'worrying case', whilst Bulgaria - which holds the EU presidency - is EU's most corrupt.

News in Brief

  1. EU Scream podcast wins media award
  2. Sturgeon will set out Scottish independence plan next week
  3. Slovenia, Croatia ex-leaders highlight jailed Catalans
  4. Italian court tells Facebook to reopen fascist party's account
  5. EU extends sanctions on Russia until mid-2020
  6. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  7. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  8. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU values face scrutiny This WEEK
  2. EU sighs relief after 'decisive' Johnson victory in UK
  3. Huge win for Conservatives in UK election
  4. Behind bars: a visit to an imprisoned Catalan politician
  5. Leaders agree 2050 climate neutrality - without Poland
  6. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  7. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  8. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us