European Union director for International Transparency in Government, Jana Mittermaier explained yesterday that Spain is a typical example of the old member states of the European Union which are increasingly worried about the private business world distorting public policies, a phenomenon known as holding the country to ransome. Owing to the economic crisis people in Spain are becoming more and more worried about corruption in the private sector, said Mittermaier.
Across the European Union, political parties are the groups which citizens consider to be the most corrupt (or so think 32 percent of those interviewed) whilst private companies took second place (23%). Some 44 percent of Spaniards believe that the action taken by central governments in the fight against corruption is insufficient and ineffective, compared to 29 percent who say they believe government crack downs are taking effect. In spite of the belief amongst those interviewed that there is a high degree of corruption in society, only 2 percent of Spaniards admit to having paid in person or through some member of their family a bribe in the last 12 months.
At a global level (the poll was carried out in 69 countries amongst 73'000 interviewees), half of those taking part in the research said that they believed the private sector to be the most corrupt. This, said the organisation for international government transparency, is an increase of 8 percent on figures for the same poll conducted five years previously. Furthermore, in nearly one fifth of the countries and territories researched, including those countries which house some of the principal financial centres in the world, such as Hong Kong, Luxemburg and Switzerland, people answering questions for the poll said they saw the private sector as the most corrupt institution.
Another of the conclusions reached by the study was that it is the poorest families in the world which continue to suffer as a consequence of minor bribery. Those interviewed who were on a low income had the highest probability of being asked for a bribe than those who were on a high income.
From a regional perspective, the report by the International Transparency organisation showed that the Near East and North Africa showed the worst results in that 4 of every 10 people interviewed said that they had paid a bribe in the past twelve months.