European Union

European Commissioner: Extent of Corruption Across the EU is 'Breathtaking'


Credit: European Parliament / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

According to a report from the European Commission, corruption costs the European Union at least 120 billion euros (about $162 billion) a year.

European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem, who presented the report, wrote about corruption in the Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, saying that, "The extent of the problem is breathtaking."

The report mentions the finding of Eurobarometer surveys, which show that in Scandinavian European Union member states and Luxembourg residents believe that corruption is widespread in their country at rates less than the E.U. average (74 percent) and very few expect to pay bribes.

In some E.U. member states, such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands, more than half of residents claim that corruption is widespread, despite the fact that very few residents say they expect to pay bribes.

There are of course some countries in the E.U. where many residents do expect to pay bribes and do think that corruption is widespread:

As for countries lagging behind in the scores concerning both perceptions and actual experience of corruption, these include Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. In these countries, between 6 % and 29 % of respondents indicated that they were asked or expected to pay a bribe in the past 12 months, while 84 % up to 99 % think that corruption is widespread in their country. Croatia and the Czech Republic appear to make a somewhat more positive impression with slightly better scores than the rest of the countries from the same group. 

Map based on some of the Eurobarometer findings below:

Credit: BBC

Transparency International ranks countries for corruption. According to last year's rankings, the U.S. is more corrupt that Denmark, Sweden, the U.K., and Germany, but is less corrupt than Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain, and France.

Sixty percent of the American respondents to the Transparency International survey believe that corruption has increased over the past two years by either "a lot" or "a little." Perhaps unsurprisingly, political parties are viewed as the most corruption institutions in the U.S., with 76 percent of respondents saying that political parties are either "corrupt" or "extremely corrupt."

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  1. NO WAY!

    A massive bureaucratic leviathan lends itself to graft and corruption? Wjo would have thunk that! The whole purpose of the EU was so that the elite in the bureaucracy could steal themselves some big money.

    1. Fortunately, there’s a solution: more oversight and more democracy! The infallible bulwarks against corruption and overreach.

      1. You must have faith in the top men. Otherwise Somalia.

      2. You just made me cry, because that’s excatly what these people always propose as a solution to bloated and corrupt government.

    2. Check out the PIGS.

  2. You know what else is breathtaking? 43-8.

    1. I was hoping for a good game. Once I knew that wasn’t going to happen, I was hoping to see the seahawks break the 55-10 point difference the 49ers beat the broncos by which I belive is the super bowl record.. Kept me interested anyways.

      1. It was a good game. It showcased how excellent the Seahawks defense is, and how good the offense can be when they’re on. It wasn’t pleasant for the Broncos, but it was a vindication of the skill of this team that Carroll has put together. Plus having Percy Harvin finally in the game not only helped, but was amazing to watch. It’s amazing how fast he is.

        1. He is amazing when he plays. Unfortunatly he is the Greg Oden of football.

        2. I like that it reminds everyone that defense matters–a lot. Three of the four teams in the championship games have good defenses.

          Harvin is insanely disruptive. His health is an issue, but I think he’s worth the roster spot, notwithstanding.

          1. Of course defense matters. And anyone who knows how the Seattle D operates could see this coming. Manning likes to hit his guys going up the side or on simple crossing routes, and let’s see: that’ll be Sherm and Earl Thomas dealing with that.

            I figured that the Broncos would go back to the drawing table and try and come up with something that wasn’t so perfect for the Hawks D to crush. I was wrong. And I’m as pleased as punch.

            1. What surprised me was that Denver’s defense played so poorly. As you know, Seattle’s offense isn’t as consistent as its defense. I thought that plus some Manning Magical Mystery Factor would make the difference in a close game. WRONG.

              I like that a defensive smackdown came during a year when the media just went on and on about how all that matters is QBs and passing. Yet the playoffs were full of defense and running.

              I also like that Tebow’s divine retribution was highlighted in a national venue.

              1. The fact that Tebow can actually act opens up worlds of possibilities.

                The thing that people who haven’t steadily watched the Seahawks don’t realize is that if they are on–as a team–they will destroy any other team. Just annihilate them. They weren’t on for the post season; the defense was so good it allowed the offense to limp to victory.

                But they were on last night. And you saw what happened. That was no surprise to me; the only suspense was waiting until the game to see if they were on or not. And it became immediately apparent that they were. As soon as I saw that, I knew it was going to be a blowout.

                1. I love teams built around defense. With the cap, no team can be perfect both ways, but teams with great defense and okay-to-decent offense can be a destructive force like no other.

                  Certainly, high-powered offenses get stopped (even if not completely) by great defenses–the Bucs did it to the Raiders, the Giants did it to Buffalo ages ago, last night, etc. I think great defense is the only way to build a long-term contender, with the mysterious exception of the Patriots (though they only won championships when they had a good defense).

                  One thing that was good was that the teams that made it were actually the best teams from their conference. Or, at least, that argument could be made. Not like a number of recent Super Bowls, which had some weird shit teams somehow getting in.

                  1. Also, having Percy Harvin fix his migraine problem about the time Washington legalized pot helped give them an awesome weapon. The Denver ends were clearly not looking for the jet sweep. Even after it was run against them 3 times successfully.

                    1. God, that was beautiful. And man, if it really was true that MJ helped Percy with his migraines, that would be great, though remember it’s still not allowed by NFL rules. Is it even allowed with a prescription?

                    2. Well given the reputation of the Vikings, if that were true he shouldnt have had tge migraines in Minnesota.

                    3. Technically, no. Although Goodell has promised to review it. I assume that not testing for pot will end up as part of the Grand Bargain on current player concussion settlements.

                    4. Huh, interesting. Perhaps the state of Florida should name its legalization effort after Harvin.

                    5. Hang on a sec. I suffer from severe migraines that graduate to vertigo. Marijuana helps that?

                    6. If it was legal, we’d have a nice, clear answer.

                      Since it’s not, you’re going to have to rely on anecdote from anonymous people on the internet.

                      Isn’t it nice to have a government.

    2. fuck y’all

      1. I guess a lot of Broncos people are realizing they shouldn’t have talked so much shit, amitrite?

        1. I only talked a little.
          I wanted the 49ers to go anyway.
          I have always hated the sea chickens and still do.
          I am not a Manning disciple but I recognize he is an all time great.
          One man can’t destroy or win a football game.
          I am mostly disappointed that, like a Tyson vs. Spinx bout, this game was over in 9 FUCKING SECONDS!!!!!!
          I ended up watching Mulan II after the first quarter…ohh and got drink but that was going to happen anyway.

  3. I think the only country on there I’m surprised about is Sweden.

    1. I don’t know, I find France’s result to be rather remarkable.

      1. Whoa, I hadn’t even noticed that. I was just looking for the really high numbers. That is remarkable.

      2. They do have a reputation for staying bought.

      3. If you mean by the ‘light’ blue result, me too. All it suggests to me is they’re not being up front about the corruption in France.

        1. Corruption that sticks around long enough isn’t corruption anymore, but tradition.

          Like the Farm Bill.

  4. My sister earned $5500 a month getting bribes from EU members on the internet.

    1. What did she have to show them? I know UN types love the childrenz – litteraly – so what do these EU bureaucrats go for?

  5. I’m sorry, but you have to file form ja237-5 to take that breath, but you know we could just overlook this whole thing if you were to make a charitable donation

    1. How much do tickets to the policemen’s ball go for nowadays?

  6. Are we talking like IOC/FIFA level corruption, UN level corruption? Give me a scale.

    1. Olympic Committee at one end.

      Local police overtime padding at the other.

      Everything else in between.

      1. Good analogy, where does this fall in everyone’s opinion? Are these a bunch of deals to get everyone’s lazy brother-in-law and idiot cousin on the payroll or something less benign?

        1. I have a Romanian friend who used to tell stories about bringing a gift of coffee beans to officials, doctors, etc when you needed something done to smooth the way. Apparently coffee was rare enough that it was pricey and people didn’t want to buy it for themselves, but not so rare that it was that hard to come by so it made a solid bribe and no cash was exchanged. I guess last time he was home it was still customary even though it was easy to get.

  7. Perhaps unsurprisingly, political parties are viewed as the most corruption institutions in the U.S., with 76 percent of respondents saying that political parties are either “corrupt” or “extremely corrupt.”

    The bad news is that the very people saying that will elect (or reelect) candidates from teh same parties who swear to perpetuate that corruption.

    1. The bad news is that the very people saying that will elect (or reelect) candidates from teh same parties who swear to perpetuate that corruption.

      I wonder what the Venn diagram looks like. The number of people who vote in the States is pretty fucking low. Hell, the number of people who are registered (despite motor voter) isn’t even majority of those eligible (at least the last I looked). So it is entirely possible that a sizable percentage of those who see the corruption don’t even bother with voting.

  8. Is ‘corruption’ defined as ‘evading government control’?

    Just trying to clarify what the ‘crime’ is.

    I know of widespread ‘corruption’ in things like, say, building inspectors in NYC. “Old boiler? gee, might need replacing that soon…. OR, maybe not…. really depends…” Need a liquor license or opening a restaurant? gee, it really couldn’t hurt to smooth things out with the right people in the district. Make friends.

    In most cases, the things called ‘corruption’ are methods for bypassing/expediting the processes imposed by local regulatory authorities, processes which often exist SOLELY to enable this power for the regional political boss.

    There is no such thing as corruption without the state putting its fingers into everything.

    1. The state is corruption. There can be no corruption without the state.

      1. There can be no corruption without the state.

        I’d agree that there can be no state without corruption. Not so sure about the other way round.

      2. And the Seahawks…they are corruption too…just like the state.
        Yup, the State and the Seahawks, get rid of those and our problems are solved.

        1. Forty. Three. To. Eight.

          1. And the Chiefs and the Raiders…All of them gone.

            Boy I can’t wait for the Superbowl…the Seahawks vs. the Broncos. It is going to be great. I just hope the Broncos dont blow them out of the water you know…and stuff.

            Someone said there was some scrimmage on last night between the girl scouts and the UFC top 11, I didn’t see it. I am waiting for the Superbowl.

      3. No, there can be plenty of corruption without the state. See for instance the payola scandals. Or rigged sporting events. Or many forms of insider trading.

  9. Anyone else noticed they stopped counting at 69% affected by corruption? I guess they didn’t want to know the real totals.

  10. Perhaps unsurprisingly, political parties are viewed as the most corruption institutions in the U.S., with 76 percent of respondents saying that political parties are either “corrupt” or “extremely corrupt.”

    The obvious solution is more government in the form of campaign finance reform, clean elections, term limits, restrictions on political speech…

    1. Something about foxes and henhouses…

  11. How much is this weighted on FIFA?

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