Europe: Pandemic has fuelled sense of corruption among EU citizens, survey finds

The coronavirus crisis has fuelled a sense of corruption among citizens in the European Union, and in Belgium, 27% of people believe corruption increased in the previous 12 months.

Less than half of the people believed the crisis has been handled “transparently” by the authorities, according to a survey by Transparency International (Global Coalition Against Corruption) published on Tuesday.

“In the EU, only about four in ten people think their government has handled the pandemic in a transparent way,” the survey found, which worsened already existing fears of politicians and businesses being involved in corruption.

In some countries, people said they believed politicians used the crisis as an excuse to undermine democracy, while others said they would see it as a chance to make a profit.

Overall, 62% of the survey participants said they believed that government corruption is a big problem in their country, whilst one-third of Europeans surveyed believe that corruption is stagnating or increasing in their country, and a further 44% don’t think it’s getting any better.

When it comes to who’s most corrupt, one-fourth of respondents in Belgium believed both bankers and business executives are involved in sketchy business, whilst 16% said Local Government Representatives (including Mayors) and 18% said National Government Officials are involved in corruption.

Across the bloc as a whole, the survey showed that more EU citizens think members of parliament in their country are corrupt than business operators.

EU citizens also criticised the close relationship between business and government. Around half think that bribes or connections are commonly used by businesses to secure profitable government contracts and that big company often avoid paying their taxes.

The original full article can be found at brusselstimes.com

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