rather than EU institutions, are chiefly responsible for fighting corruption in
Ms Malmstroem said national governments and the European Parliament had asked
the Commission to carry out the EU-wide study. The Commission drafts EU laws
and enforces compliance with EU treaties.
the UK only five people out of 1,115 - less than 1% - said they had been
expected to pay a bribe. It was "the best result in all Europe", the
But 64% of British respondents said they believed corruption to be
widespread in the UK, while the EU average was 74% on that question.
some countries there was a relatively high number reporting personal experience
Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, between
6% and 29% of respondents said they had been asked for a bribe, or had been
expected to pay one, in the past 12 months.
were also high levels of bribery in Poland (15%), Slovakia (14%) and Hungary
(13%), where the most prevalent instances were in healthcare.
Malmstroem said corruption was eroding trust in democracy and draining
resources from the legal economy.
"The political commitment to really root out corruption seems
to be missing," she complained.
EU has an anti-fraud agency, Olaf, which focuses on fraud and corruption
affecting the EU budget, but it has limited resources. In 2011 its budget was
just 23.5m euros.
Commission highlighted that:
Public procurement (public bodies
buying goods and services) forms about one-fifth of the EU's total output (GDP)
and is vulnerable to corruption, so better controls and integrity standards are
- Corruption risks are generally
greater at local and regional level
- Many shortcomings remain in
financing of political parties - often codes of conduct are not tough enough
- Often the existing rules on
conflicts of interest are inadequately enforced
- The quality of corruption
investigations varies widely across the EU
The EU study includes two
major opinion polls by Eurobarometer, the Commission's polling service.
out of 10 of the businesses surveyed described corruption as an obstacle to
doing business in Europe.
"is undoubtedly one of the countries with the least problems with
corruption, and other EU countries should learn from Sweden's solutions for
dealing with the problem", Ms Malmstroem said, pointing to the role of
laws on transparency and openness.
crime groups have sophisticated networks across Europe and the EU police agency Europol says there are at least 3,000 of
Romania and Italy are particular hotspots for organized crime gangs in the EU,
but white-collar crimes like bribery and VAT (sales tax) fraud plague many EU
year Europol director Rob Wainwright said VAT fraud in the carbon credits
market had cost the EU about 5bn Euros.