The EU Commission fails to draw the right conclusions about corruption

Press conference by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the European Commission, on the conclusions of the first ever EU Anti-Corruption Report. (EC Audiovisual Services, 3.2.2014).

Press conference by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the European Commission, on the conclusions of the first ever EU Anti-Corruption Report. (EC Audiovisual Services, 3.2.2014).

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs presented yesterday the first EU Anti-Corruption Report. The Commission estimates that corruption costs €120 billion a year to the European economy. This could be a very low approximation of reality though, because the vast majority of EU citizens believe that among politicians at national, regional, local and EU levels, in the public institutions and services even in the business world, corruption runs high. Let’s dig a bit deeper into it.

The relevant Eurobarometer survey shows that, “three quarters (76%) of Europeans think that corruption is widespread and more than half (56%) think that the level of corruption in their country has increased over the past three years”. This is a really devastating finding, and the Commission rather understates the importance and the consequences this Eurobarometer survey. On the average 26% of EU citizens say that their daily life is badly affected by corruption, with Spaniards and Greeks most affected by this plague, at a percentage reaching 63%. Even 65% of the Germans believe that high corruption cases are not adequately prosecuted in their country.

Perception of corruption

However it seems that there is a large difference between the general perception of corruption by EU citizens and their personal experience of it. This can be seen also in the results of the Eurobarometer survey. As mentioned above, three-quarters of Europeans think that corruption is widespread and more than half state that the level of corruption in their country has increased over the past three years. However only “one out of twelve of them (8%) say they have experienced or witnessed a case of corruption in the past year”. Let’s continue with perceptions, because if shared by the many they are equal to reality.

As expected, a survey about the public perception of corruption is related to the function of the entire public sector along with all government levels. Consequently all questions of this survey revolve around the beliefs and experiences of citizens in relation to authorities and public services. The general conclusion that can be easily drawn from this survey is that Europeans have a very negative opinion about politicians at every level. Starting from what is closer to them, they think that regional and local government may be just a bit less prone to corruption than the central authorities. “Eight in ten Europeans (80%) agree that corruption exists in the national public institutions in their country… Around three-quarters (77%) agree that it is present in their local or regional public institutions”.

The countries where “respondents are most likely to agree that corruption is present within the local or regional public institutions in Greece (95%), Italy (92%), Spain, Croatia (both 91%), the Czech Republic (89%) and Slovenia (87%)”. It’s not only the southern and the ex-communist countries where citizens believe that regional and local public institutions are corrupt. Surprisingly enough even the vast majority of the Germans and the Swedes (69% in each country) believe that there is corruption in their regional and local authorities.

No direct questions about legislators

While the Eurobarometer survey contains detailed and direct questions about regional and local public institutions and consequently the elected representatives who run them, there is no detailed and direct questioning about national legislators. There is only an indirect examination of what the citizens think about national parties and parliamentary deputies, despite the fact that 80% “agree that corruption exists in the national public institutions in their country”.

The negative opinion about national institutions is not restricted to the south or the ex-communist countries. Around 74% of the Germans and 76% of the French “totally agree that there is corruption in the national public institutions in our country”. Of course for the Greeks and the Spaniards this percentage reaches the unbelievable highs of 97% and 95%. Yet this is not direct question about what people think about political parties and legislators.

Political parties and deputies

Now about the political parties the questions are indirect. Citizens are not directly asked about what they think in relation to possible corruption there, but rather about what they think over the way the political parties are financed. In any case only one in five Europeans “(22%) thinks that the financing of political parties is sufficiently transparent and supervised, and only one in twenty (5%) totally agree” with this allegation. More than 68% tend to disagree or totally disagree with the proposal that “there is enough transparency and supervision of the financing of the political parties in our country”.

As for the issue of credibility of the main political arena in every country this is again tackled only indirectly through questions about the relations between politics and business. The response though that the citizens delivered to those questions are quite deafening. When asked “if corruption is part of their national business culture”, and if this has to be “attributed to the close links between business and politics, eight out of ten Europeans (81%) agree that “too-close links between business and politics in their country lead to corruption”.

More conclusions

Obviously this doesn’t necessarily mean that 81% of the Europeans believe that their national legislators are plainly corrupted. However at this point, this writer is tempted to think, that the Brussels politicians, who agreed to finance this Eurobarometer survey demanded, that no questions be asked which may lead to straight forward answers, entailing that the politicians are outright sold to the business lobbies.

In any case the truth remains that 81% of the EU citizens responded that the close ties between politics and business lead to corruption. Is it true though, that an equal percentage means also that such close ties do exist today? Who knows? It’s like solving an equation about who is corrupted and who isn’t.

Again the south and ex-communist countries like Greece, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia and Spain appear the most prone to be plagued by close ties between politics and business. Those citizens respond positively to such a question in percentages ranging from 90% to 85%. Surprisingly enough though the French, the German, the British and the Dutch believe exactly the same thing about their politicians, with percentages ranging from 82% to 77%.

There is no question then that all the European citizens alike, probably with small differences between them, do believe that there exist strong ties, like gravity forces, binding together the political and the business constellations. Unfortunately Commissioner Malmström failed to arrive at this conclusion, the average European in the street would have easily drawn.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Action needed to tackle stalled social mobility

From Sweden to India, School climate strikes have gone global

Cameroon: Clear ‘window of opportunity’ to solve crises rooted in violence – Bachelet

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

UN chief expresses ‘full confidence’ in top Somalia official following Government expulsion

UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

Heard about deepfakes? Don’t panic. Prepare

Jeroen Dijsselbloem new Eurogroup president

Parliament boosts consumer rights online and offline

Berlin vies for a Germanic European Central Bank

This is why AI has a gender problem

Humans account for only 0.01% of life on Earth – but our impact has been immense

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

Do electronic cigarettes produce adverse health effects?

Importance of teaching ethics in Brazilian Medical Schools

EU-China Light Bridge in Brussels signals the bright coming of the Year of The Dog

Erdogan vies to become Middle East Sultan over Khashoggi’s killing

Venezuela: UN human rights office calls for ‘maximum restraint’ by authorities in face of new demonstrations

Women in video games: ‘Accept it, or don’t buy the game’

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving Globalization 4.0

The financial world upside-down: debt failure closer

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

From cheeseburgers to coral reefs, the science of decision-making can change the world

Why the financial scandals multiply?

SMEs are the most valuable partners. Here’s why

COP24 negotiations: Why reaching agreement on climate action is so complex

The US will impose tariffs on Mexico, says President Trump

ECB: Euro area should smooth out the consumption and income shocks of its members

Young students envision turning Europe into an Entrepreneurial Society

Vile act of torture prohibited ‘under all circumstances’, UN chief affirms on International Day to support victims

Big impact vs big exit: the social side of the start-up game presented at the WSA Global Congress in Vienna

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

The needs, challenges and power dynamics of refugee resettlement

Uneven progress on climate action at Bangkok conference

Security Council urges countries to factor child protection into conflict prevention efforts

‘Going green’ is good business says private sector at UN’s COP24 climate conference

DR Congo: Electoral process advancing despite threat of armed groups, UN envoy tells Security Council

Innovations for Content Professionals at the DCX exhibition 2018 in Berlin, in association with The European Sting

Four million have now fled Venezuela, UN ramps up aid to children who remain

Korea should improve the quality of employment for older workers

Remembering Kofi Annan

How climate change exacerbates the refugee crisis – and what can be done about it

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you

EU-U.S. trade talks – one year on, Commission presents progress report

Parliament criticises Council’s rejection of money laundering blacklist

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

A Sting Exclusive: “There can be no global deal on emissions without China and the USA”, Conservative MEP Ian Duncan stresses from Brussels

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

The EU risks trade relations with China over the Tata hype about steel

The 5 stages of acceptance as robots enter the workforce

Water scarcity is a growing problem across the Middle East. Is this how we solve it?

Internet milestone reached, as more than 50 per cent go online: UN telecoms agency

AI-assisted recruitment is biased. Here’s how to make it more fair

Entrepreneur India Convention 2016: Bringing together Entrepreneurs, Investors, Startups and SMEs

Is the EU denying its social character favouring a banking conglomerate?

Corruption undermines democracy and contributes to instability, warns senior UN anti-crime official

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Useful info. Lucky me I found your web site unintentionally,
    and I am surprised why this coincidence did not came about earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s