European Union: EU/CEE: Perceptions And Experiences Of Corruption In EU Member States

On 3 Feb 2014, the European Commission released its Anti-Corruption Report (COM 2014/38 final)1, which provides comprehensive analyses of corruption within the EU member states, national preventive measures in force, and suggestions for legislative improvements. With this report, the Commission is striving to provide momentum to a pan-European debate on anti-corruption issues and to assist Member States in identifying ways to improve anti-corruption work at the national level.

73% of Europeans polled in the Report say that bribery and the use of connections is often the easiest way of obtaining certain public services in their country. According to the Report, corruption is perceived as particularly widespread by citizens in the Czech Republic (95%), Slovakia (90%), Hungary (89%) and Poland  (82%). Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Romania are countries lagging behind in the scores concerning both perceptions and actual experience of corruption. In these countries, between 6 to 29% of respondents indicated that they had been asked for or were expected to pay a bribe during the past 12 months. The healthcare sector provides the bulk of instances of bribery. According to the Commission, there is evidence that structural problems in healthcare provide incentives to pay a bribe to medical staff.

26% of the polled Europeans claim that they are personally affected by corruption in their daily lives. People are most likely to say they are personally affected by corruption in Romania and Croatia and least likely to do so in Denmark. 8% of Europeans say they have experienced or witnessed a case of corruption within the past 12 months, with the highest level of such responses in Slovakia (21%) and Poland (16%).

Overall, the Commission concluded that all EU Member States have most of the necessary legal instruments and institutions in place to prevent and fight corruption. However, the anti-corruption mechanisms often do not deliver fully satisfying results. Therefore, the Report provides suggestions on how to optimize the national legal frameworks for fighting corruption. We have summarized these recommendations for those eight EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe in which Schoenherr has local anti-corruption experts in place:

Austria

The Commission acknowledged that Austria's efforts to fight corruption have been strengthened by recent amendments to the Austrian Criminal Code as of 1 January 2013. Improvements had been made by providing sufficient specialized prosecutors to process corruption cases. However, to efficiently investigate bribery cases, Austria should facilitate access to bank account information. The Commission also suggests introducing a monitoring mechanism for checking declarations of assets for both elected and appointed senior public officials.

Bulgaria

The Commission concludes that corruption in Bulgaria remains widespread despite current reforms of the country's anti-corruption legislation. The Commission proposes that Bulgaria should shield anti-corruption institutions from political influence and appoint the institutions' management in a transparent procedure. In addition, a code of ethics should be adopted for members of the National Assembly and dissuasive sanctions for corruption in public procurement shall be enforced at national and local levels.

Czech Republic

The Commission states that even if a strategic framework for fighting corruption has been evolving in the Czech Republic over the past decade, problems related to public procurement practices and the misuse of public funds persist. As attempts to pass legislation covering conflicts of interest in the civil service have been unsuccessful, the Commission suggests that such legislation shall be put in place. De lege ferenda the Czech Republic should provide for merit-based recruitment and guarantees against arbitrary dismissal in the state's civil service. Furthermore, the Commission suggests that electoral campaign expenditures and donations shall be made public in annual financial reports.

Hungary

The Commission attests that Hungary developed ambitious anti-corruption policies. However, in its report the Commission points out a number of areas where further efforts can be made, especially with regard to the financing of political parties, control mechanisms surrounding public procurement procedures, and conflict of interests among public officials. The Commission sees further needs for changes in the field of strengthening the accountability standards for officials and in preventing favoritism in public administration. Moreover, "gratitude" payments in the healthcare sector should be eliminated.

Poland

The Commission indicates that even though Poland has implemented certain policies against corruption, a more strategic approach is necessary to ensure comprehensive solutions. Thus, the Report suggests that Poland should develop a long-term strategy against corruption. Reforms are needed to safeguard the transparency of public procurement and healthcare. Further measures should be taken to prevent a politicization of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau. Also, the supervision of state-owned companies shall be strengthened.

Romania

The Commission determined that corruption remains a significant problem in Romania and that the political will to promote high standards of integrity is inconsistent. Romania should ensure that independence and non-partisan investigations into high-level corruption cases are guaranteed. The Report suggests that Romania develop comprehensive codes of conduct for elected officials and that dissuasive sanctions for corruption cases be ensured, while control mechanisms in public procurement should be strengthened. The Commission proposes increasing the efficiency of the detection and prevention of conflicts of interest among public officials, as well as strengthening safeguards when it comes to abuses in the allocation of public funding. Further steps against the corruption in the healthcare sector need to be taken.

Slovakia

The Commission identifies several factors that limit the effectiveness of anti-corruption work: problems with legislation, perceived lack of independence of parts of the judiciary, and close ties between the political and business elites. The Commission suggests that Slovakia should strengthen the independence of the judiciary, especially by specifying criteria under which presidents and vice-presidents of courts can be removed from office. Further, the Report suggests increasing the transparency of party funding at local and regional level and implementing measures to prevent the misuse of EU funds.

Slovenia

The Commission attests that while Slovenia is vested with a well-developed anti-corruption framework, the political drive against corruption has declined in the recent past. The Report suggests that Slovenia establish penalties to dissuade officials from not complying with disclosure requirements re their assets or conflict of interests. Slovenia should safeguard the independence and resources of anti-corruption bodies and prosecution. The Report also encourages efforts to ensure supervision of party funding and to prevent corruption within state-owned or state-controlled companies and in the field of public procurement/privatizations.

The described practices and weaknesses identify steps that will allow Member States to address corruption more effectively. While addressing these issues is solely a matter of national competence, it is in the EU's common interest to ensure that all Member States have efficient anti-corruption policies in place and that high anti-corruption standards are being promoted across the EU.

Footnotes

1.Anti-Corruption Report (COM 2014/38 final) can be accessed here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions