SIDEBAR: Greece comes out top in EU corruption perceptions poll
Feb 15, 2012, 14:37 GMT
Brussels - Greece came out top on Wednesday in an EU poll on corruption perceptions within the bloc - highlighting a well-known weakness as the country struggles to convince eurozone partners to lend it more money to avoid bankruptcy.
Ninety-eight per cent of Greeks think that corruption is 'a major problem' in their nation - the highest percentage across the European Union, the Eurobarometer poll found.
Figures were also high in Portugal and Cyprus (97 per cent) and Hungary (96 per cent), while they were lowest in Denmark (19 per cent) and the Netherlands (34 per cent). The EU average was 74 per cent.
Respondents' were also asked whether they thought that their national institutions were corrupt. Ninety-nine per cent of Greeks answered 'yes' - again the highest percentage in the EU.
A third question asked if people believed that corruption in their country was worse than in other nations. Eighty per cent of Greeks replied affirmatively, beating another EU record.
Embarassingly for Brussels authorities, 73 per cent of respondents across the bloc also said that they perceived the EU institutions to be corrupt.
'There is a divergence between perceptions and reality,' European Commission spokesman Michele Cercone noted in reaction.
He said the percentage had fallen from 76 per cent in the last Eurobarometer corruption survey from 2009, and added that 'a very small number' of EU officials had been found guilty of graft.
He also indicated that the commission had 'no figure or data' linking corruption to the economic crisis gripping Europe.