As if we didn’t know it already! The Western world is the ultimate destination for corruption, pulling a swift one and swiping the valuables from the inside pocket of the guy’s pants standing in front of you as he keeps his beady eye on the economy. It’s always been the past master of tom-foolery and make-believe, the West. The place where they tell you that it was as far back as the Romans you would have to go to in order to find a tinge of corruption in the political world and it has been certainly banished to the very fringes of the financial world. That’s what we get told.
It now turns out according to figures recently published that it’s the EU that is one of the most corrupt places in the world. Enough to take your breath away and not just your hard-earned cash. It will certainly be fuel for the fire to the arguments of the anti-Europeans and the Euro-sceptics that are becoming a great deal more than just a mere handful few and far between.
Corruption in the European Union costs at least 120 billion euros ($162.10 billion) every year according to a European Commission. Let’s just hope that the Commission was honest enough to stay away from fraudulent activities while carrying out the study and putting the report together. Oh! What a wicked web we weave!
Anybody would hazard a guess that the 120 billion euros is rather on the conservative side. But, then again, the EU did always like to throw figures around, didn’t it? They must have money to throw away. Sorry correction, the EU citizens must have money to throw at the politicians and corrupt officials like chucking peanuts into the mouths of the monkeys swinging from the branches of the trees at the zoo.
The 120-billion figure is the equivalent to the budget of the EU. So are the Europeans paying double for the running of their united Union? It would appear that the only thing about the EU that is united at the moment is the fight to maintain the fraudulent activities of embezzlement and the using of public funds to one’s own personal gain at the top of the agenda. Such a survey has never been carried out before and it hardly seems likely that they will be wanting to do it again given the results.
• Greece, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania had results which showed that between 6% and 29% of citizens from those countries had to pay bribes to public officials (in the last twelve months) in those countries as well as private individuals.
• 99% of Greeks believe that corruption is rife in the EU (tell us something new?).
• Poland had a figure of 15%.
• Hungary stood at 13%.
• The UK had a surprisingly low level (only 1%). So either they are all telling fibs in Great Britain or they have little dealings with EU officials or government officials. Take your pick!
• 64% of the Brits did actually state however that they had the impression that fraud and corruption was widespread in the UK. That shows that someone is lying somewhere along the line.
• But, the overall figure in the EU was that 74% believed that corruption was everywhere.
• 9% of Germans know someone that has taken a bribe.
• 60% of French companies believe that corruption is an obstacle do doing business in the EU.
• 4% of Swedes say that they have had to pay a bribe.
• Although 18% of Swedes know someone that has had to pay a bribe.
• So, we can only deduce here in the strange figures that either all of the people know each other in Sweden and that it’s the same old fools paying the money under the table.
• Or alternatively the EU (Stockholm-born) Commissioner Anna Cecilia Malmström who was heading the fraud report has some answering to do.
The EU report was made at the request of the EU member countries and also the European Parliament. Nothing like apparent transparency to keep the barking dogs quiet, is there?
The EU already has an anti-fraud agency called OLAF (particular concerning EU fraud on the European budget). But, there again is one of the other wonders of modern investigative research. Keep the budget as tight as a shoe-string and they won’t be able to investigate anything. OLAF only gets 23.5 million euros($31.74 million). But, would it be worth them getting any more? In 2000, internal auditors had reports placed on the desks of OLAF investigators to show that Eurostat had fraudulently attributed contracts to private companies. OLAF decided not to act on that information, but was later forced to do so when the scandal was revealed by the press.
The latest findings of the EU report show that public procurement procedures were open to fraud, in particular. Political-party financing also came under attack for fraudulent activities.
Hocus-pocus, chicanery, dupery and duplicity, oh what a guile bamboozlement of double-dealing and deceit!
Drown it as much as possible in long-winded texts, with a superfluous over-heightened sense of hierarchy at all levels so that you can never get to the bottom of things, and you have a grand old recipe for corruption in the EU. Voilà! Magic!