Italy has the highest levels of corruption in Europe, study shows

Corruption is more costly to Italy than any other European country, leaving it lagging behind other western European nations.

Italy has the highest levels of corruption in Europe, study shows
Photo: DepositPhotos

The Italian economy loses 236 billion euros a year to corruption, which is about 13 percent of gross domestic product, or equal to 3,903 euros per inhabitant.

The figure is twice as high as that of France, where it’s equal to 120 billion euros and 6 percent of GDP, and that of Germany, where corruption costs 104 billion euros (4 percent of GDP). 

The analysis was conducted by European Green Party for the European Parliament, based on figures from the American NGO RAND.

89 percent of Italians think that corruption is “extremely widespread” in their country, with 84 percent convinced that it is “part of the business culture” of Italy.

The study highlights how, in Italy, the wasted money could resolve all of the country’s major social problems, Repubblica writes.

Photo: DepositPhotos

The cost of corruption in Italy is more than one and a half times the national public health budget.

It's also 12 times bigger than the funding for the country’s police force, 16 times the funding set aside to combat unemployment, and 337 times bigger than the budget set aside for Italy’s scarce social housing.

In Italy, 80 percent of inhabitants believe that corruption is so widespread in their country that the majority don’t bother to report it.

The figure was the same in more than half of European member states, with the same figures found in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

READ ALSO: Nine arrested for corruption over new Rome stadium

While Italy suffered most from the cost of corruption overall, Romania was found to be the most corrupt country when looking at the cost as percentage of GDP.

Romania loses 15.6 percent of GDP to corruption every year.

More generally, corruption seems to be a bigger problem for Eastern Europe, as well as for Italy: Bulgaria, Latvia and Greece lose about 14 percent of GDP each year, Croatia 13.5 percent, Slovakia 13 and the Czech Republic 12. 

On the other hand, the Netherlands came out as the least corrupt European country.  Corruption here costs just 0.76 percent of GDP, although that’s still about 4.4 billion euros.

In total, the European Union loses 904 billion euros of GDP to corruption, if the indirect effects are included in the calculation, such as lost tax revenue and the reduction of foreign investments. 

To put the figures in context it’s said that ending world hunger would cost 229 billion, providing primary education to all the children of the 46 poorest countries on the globe 22 billion, and eliminating malaria four billion.

The study showed that across all European countries, most people think their government's efforts to combat corruption are ineffective.

The only institutions trusted by a large majority are police forces, and trust in European institutions is as low as four percent.

Denmark and Finland came next with four billion each. And in the United Kingdom corruption costs 2.3 percent of GDP, or about 41 billion euros. 



Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

Italy commemorated the death of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone on Monday, thirty years after the brutal Capaci bombing.

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

The entire country paid tribute on Monday to anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian mafia 30 years ago in a car bomb murder that shocked the country.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese laid a wreath at the memorial at the site of the blast at Capaci, near Palermo, that killed Falcone, his wife, and three members of his police escort on May 23rd 1992.

Another ceremony in Palermo was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti, then Sicily’s regional president, was also murdered by the mafia.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi hailed the legacy of Falcone, saying that thanks to his “courage, professionalism and determination, Italy has become a freer and fairer country”.

He said Falcone and his colleagues – one of whom, Paolo Borsellino, was killed by Cosa Nostra two months later – “dealt decisive blows against the mafia”.

“Their heroism had rooted anti-mafia values in society, in new generations, in republican institutions,” he added, saying the “relentless fight against organised crime and […] the search for truth” must continue.

The mob used a skateboard to place a 500-kilogramme (1100-pound) charge of TNT and ammonium nitrate in a tunnel under the motorway which linked the airport to the centre of Palermo.

Falcone, driving a white Fiat Croma, was returning from Rome for the weekend. At a look-out point on the hill above, a mobster nicknamed “The Pig” pressed the remote control button as the judge’s three-car convoy passed.

The blast ripped through the asphalt, shredding bodies and metal, and flinging the lead car several hundred metres.

READ ALSO: How murdered judge Giovanni Falcone shaped Italy’s fight against the mafia

On July 19th, Borsellino was also killed in a car bomb attack, along with five members of his escort. Only his driver survived.

Falcone posed a real threat to Cosa Nostra, an organised crime group made famous by The Godfather trilogy, and which boasted access to the highest levels of Italian power.

He and Borsellino were later credited with revolutionising the understanding of the mafia, working closely with the first informants and compiling evidence for a groundbreaking ‘maxi-trial’ in which hundreds of mobsters were convicted in 1987.

“Thanks to Falcone and Borsellino, the Sicilian mafia became a notorious fact, not something that had to be proved to exist at every trial,” anti-mafia prosecutor Marzia Sabella told AFP.