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Corruption across EU breathtaking


The extent of corruption in Europe is "breathtaking" and it costs the EU economy at least 120bn euros (£99bn) annually, the European Commission says.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem has presented a full report on the problem.

She said the true cost of corruption was "probably much higher" than 120bn.

Three-quarters of Europeans surveyed for the Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased.

"The extent of the problem in Europe is breathtaking, although Sweden is among the countries with the least problems," Ms Malmstroem wrote in Sweden's Goeteborgs-Posten daily.

The cost to the EU economy is equivalent to the bloc's annual budget.

For the report the Commission studied corruption in all 28 EU member states. The Commission says it is the first time it has done such a survey.

Bribery widespread

National governments, rather than EU institutions, are chiefly responsible for fighting corruption in the EU.

But Ms Malmstroem said national governments and the European Parliament had asked the Commission to carry out the EU-wide study. The Commission drafts EU laws and enforces compliance with EU treaties.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26014387 for full story.