According to the first ever corruption report by the European Commission, the European Union (EU) is losing over 120 billion euros a year because of widespread corruption in many member nations. The report stated that the corruption regulations and controls in many countries are not adequate enough to effectively fight the fraud occurring across the EU. The loose regulations and inspection has allowed for much of the corruption to occur in local governments and communities in all member countries, showing that the Commission believes that corruption is a problem across the EU.
As part of the Commission’s report, there were several surveys taken across EU member countries. One of the questions asked dealt with the issue of bribery, which proved to be a major problem in some countries. In nine countries, mostly found in the Southeastern portion of the EU, there were high levels of respondents that said that they had been asked or expected to pay a bribe for services in the past year. When asked whether you think corruption to be widespread in your own country, 74% of people across the EU agreed.
Another large area of concern for corruption is in construction and urban development industries. The commission highlighted problems with government awarding contracts to companies that had much higher bids than competitors. In Italy, Greece, and Spain, almost every single construction company reported that corruption was widespread, a rather astonishing discovery. The Commission urged the EU and its member countries to open up about their financial deals and contracts as a way to fight and expose the corruption occurring across the construction industry.
Overall the report shows how truly prevalent and damaging corruption is in all European countries. The effects on the economies and people living in the EU have proved to be huge, which should in turn lead governments to act. The Commission highlighted problems with the lack of government oversight and effective investigations. Member countries will need to adopt meaningful reforms to their regulatory departments and invest more to fight dishonesty and fraud if they are serious about stopping the billions of euros that are lost each year to corruption.