Sunday

27th May 2018

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.

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.

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.

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach