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EU Commission: Corruption Across EU Costs €120 Billion 196

cold fjord writes with news that the EU has completed its first report on corruption in member states, and the results aren't looking too good. From the article: "'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. "
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EU Commission: Corruption Across EU Costs €120 Billion

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  • by Main Gauche ( 881147 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:36AM (#46147489)

    120 billion euro? Internets, you so funny.

    To put things in perspective:

    1. Estimates [] of just medicare/medicaid fraud in the US easily approach $100 billion. I'd bet those estimates are conservative.

    2. Medicare/medicaid spending is only about a fifth of the US budget. (That doesn't necessarily mean that total US fraud is 5 times the above figure, but suggests it's much larger than $100B.).

    3. The Eurozone's GDP is about equal to (slightly larger than) that of the US.

    Put it all together, and tell me with a straight face that fraud in the Eurozone is 120 billion euro (about $160 billion). Keep in mind that for every Sweden there's an Italy.
    Yeah, it's "probably" much higher, like the Broncos "probably" lost.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:00AM (#46147731) Journal

    Oh please Bush and Obama are amateurs compared to DOD. We are talking BILLIONS in price hikes, overruns,kick backs, look up what went on with the M114 or M60A2 to see how REAL pros do that corruption, sheeit they knew they were turkeys before they had even left the testing ground and STILL bought it, or the M247 Sergeant York where not a damned thing worked and it failed to even hit a stationary target yet STILL got sold, because the fix was in!

    So you can wave your little donkey and elephant flags all you want, the guys making the REAL money don't change every election, they stay right there in DC making bank on gov side then the lobby side.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:00AM (#46147733)

    In the first bidding round CGI apparently won a competitive bidding between 4 companies (CGI, IBM, QSSI, and Computer Sciences).

    However, after CMS dumped CGI, it brought on Accenture. Technically, the way that Accenture was hired was a no-bid contract (because the normal government bidding process rules were bypassed because they would have taken at least 6 months and that delay would have been disaster). Since there was no competitive bidding, it's impossible to know what happened, but the smart money is on CMS noting that the California website was working and they picked Accenture.

    The real question is though why did Accenture want to do it now (it's a paltry $90M contract) when they weren't one of the original bidding companies? The smart money is that they were promised something bigger if they fixed the mess and what that will be the real story that we will discover what that will cost later...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:51AM (#46147965)
    The website was made by a company that was contracted under the bush administration to do general IT service work for the government. They did a piss poor job at substantial expense, to be sure, but it was not a no-bid contract - they were one of four [] eligible companies which bid on the contract for the website.

    The no-bid and Michelle Obama nonsense is parroted by people who consume right wing news (propaganda) and mistakenly believe it to be true.
  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @05:27AM (#46148075) Journal
    It all depends on how you measure corruption. The study seems to have measured how many Europeans have come into direct contact with corruption, i,e, offering or being offered a bribe. My country (the Netherlands) scores quite well on that score; no need to pay of anyone at city hall unless you want to get something done in real estate or construction. Bribery is so uncommon here that the vast majority of people never suspect that a bribe is asked for when their request is turned down. But below the surface, where most ordinary citizens don't venture, it exists. Some have compared the nature and level of corruption here to that of Japan.

    The study does lighlight such factors, and as far as I know Sweden also has a lot less of this hidden corruption compared to NL. Not because they are a nanny state, but because of functional transparency laws. In the Netherlands, comparatively few people bother to check on their government, and when they do, they find transparency laws that are ranked amongst the worst in the world. Corrpution exists where it is profitable, undetected or unpunished. In that light, I shudder to think about what we can find in the EU offices themselves...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @05:53AM (#46148155)

    You do not understand what the European Union is. It is not an economic alliance. It's sole purpose is to prevent large war breaking out in Europe (cue WWI and WW2). Efficiency, anti-corruption, economic competitiveness are all tertiary compared to the great aim of peace, complete with doves carrying olive branches, lions and lambs napping together and whatnot.

    If the EU ever falls apart, Britain, France and Germany will jump at each other's throat, Russia will invade Eastern Europe and the gunpowder barrel called the Balkans will simply explode. The use of nuclear weapons will lead to WORLDWIDE destruction.

    Therefore EU must be kept together, no matter how much it costs and how much of that budget goes to waste. Anyhow, if a corrput person receives millions, he will spend them on Ferrari, yacht, villa and gambling. The money soon returns to the circulation in the economic sphere and no long-term loss is evident.

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @06:45AM (#46148301)

    But it's not a constant, it's changing over time. Many of the Eastern European nations have seen healthy declines in corruption towards the Western European and Scandinavian standards which is my point. There are still problem countries i.e. Greece and Italy but the financial crisis brought those glaring exceptions to the forefront of scrutiny such that even they can no longer get away with it and are being forced to deal with it.

    Income differences are continuously decreasing too as new entrants become more prosperous over time from having their cheap starting base opened up to the demands of the wealthier nations creating jobs.

    It isn't going to happen overnight, but it most definitely is happening. It's not like things are stagnant, it's not as if all EU nations are in the same place they were when they joined and nothing has improved or changed, that view is very much wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:00AM (#46148333)

    Keep in mind that for every Sweden there's an Italy.

    As an Italian, I'd like to remind everyone that Italian corruption alone (60bn) accounts for half of the total of Europe losses.
    So the average in Europe is actually much lower than you usually think if you exclude Italy.

    Now we are also risking big fines if we do not pass laws that will fix the situation, but as you can guess, the politicians are not really inclined to do this...
    Everyone is still following berlusconi, who is the father of our new election law (the previous one was ruled unconstitutional), even though he is not in the parliament anymore...

    So actually, comparing the Italian corruption with any first-world country is actually laughable in any case...

    Did I mention the proven interactions between the state and the mafia, or the convicted parliament memebers? Well, we can talk for hours on that...

  • by Flammon ( 4726 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @08:32AM (#46148645) Homepage Journal

    I know you're trying to be funny by saying that libertarians are running Sweden but there is some truth to that. Sweden is rank fairly high on the economic freedom index []. They have somewhat low corporate taxes and stay out of wars and these are things that you'll find in common with libertarians. Having that said, they are not a wealthy country either measured as a whole or per capita. Like other socialist countries, they have to enjoy a lower standard of living than countries with smaller governments.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson