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EU on corruption

Some 120 billion euros are lost each year to corruption in the 27 Member States of the EU. That is the equivalent of the whole EU-budget. In public procurement, studies suggest that up to 20 to 25 per cent of the public contracts’ value may be lost to corruption. So said Cecilia Malmström, European Union (EU) Commissioner for Home Affairs, offering the European Commission’s ‘best estimate’.

She was speaking at the Second Regional Workshop on the EU Anti-Corruption Report, in Gothenburg.

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She said: “Still, deep-rooted corruption is a part of reality in many countries. Although the EU is probably rightly perceived to be one of the cleaner parts of the world, corruption is also present here. There have even been several serious cases here in Göteborg. It varies in nature and extent from one Member State to the other, but it affects all of us.”

She said that European countries generally had laws against corruption, but ‘anti-corruption rules are not vigorously enforced and one does not find many strong examples of how systemic problems related to corruption are effectively tackled’. Rather than offer new EU legislation on corruption, she proposed ‘a dialogue with Member States, offering suggestions and support’. As for what the EU is to do about countries’ corruption, the sum of it is that the Commission is to publish an EU Anti-Corruption Report every two years. She acknowledged this might seem like ‘yet another report’.

Speaking on corruption in the EU’s own institutions, she said: “I recognise that corruption within the European Commission and other EU Institutions is an issue we have to take seriously. Recent cases of alleged corruption – in the European Commission and in the European Parliament – remind us not to rest on our laurels. Fortunately, OLAF and the European Court of Auditors have proven their usefulness in revealing such cases. The Commission has revised its code of conduct for commissioners to reinforce the integrity standards. The European Parliament has also reinforced the ethical code for MEPs.”


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