Corruption (II): Europe Doing Nothing


Human Wrongs Watch

MADRID, Dec 7 2022 (IPS)* – “Western Europe and the European Union remains the highest scoring region in the world’s corruption index, progress has halted and worrying signs of backsliding have emerged.”
While corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, in Western Europe and the European Union, 84% of countries have declined or made little to no progress in the last 10 years, report finds. Credit: Shutterstock.

 

While corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, in Western Europe and the European Union, 84% of countries have declined or made little to no progress in the last 10 years, report finds. Credit: Shutterstock.

This is how Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report introduces its section: A Decade of Stagnating Corruption Levels In Western Europe Amidst Ongoing Scandals.

The report shows that while corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, “in Western Europe and the European Union, 84% of countries have declined or made little to no progress in the last 10 years.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has given European countries “an excuse for complacency in anti-corruption efforts” as accountability and transparency measures are “neglected or even rolled back.”

Transparency International further explains that “weakening good governance and checks and balances heightens the risk of human rights violations and further corruption.”

An excuse

The Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

According to the 2021 ranking, the Western Europe and European Union average holds at 66, and these are the region’s most signalled States:

  • Countries like Poland (56) and Hungary (43) have backslid, with harsh crackdowns on rights and freedom of expression.
  • Others still near the top like Germany (80), the United Kingdom (78) and Austria (74) faced serious corruption scandals.
  • Denmark (88) and Finland (88) top the region and the world (alongside New Zealand), with Norway (85) and Sweden (85) rounding out the top.
  • Romania (45), and Bulgaria (42) remain the worst performers in the region.
  • Switzerland (84), Netherlands (82), Belgium (73), Slovenia (57), Italy (56), Cyprus (53), and Greece (49) are all at historic lows on the 2021 Index.

For each country’s individual score and changes over time, as well as analysis for each region, see the region’s 2021 CPI page.

In short, in the last decade, 26 countries in the region have either declined or made little to no significant progress.

Allowing corruption to fester

On this, Flora Cresswell, Western Europe regional coordinator of Transparency International said:

“Stagnation spells trouble across Europe. Even the region’s best performers are falling prey to major scandals, revealing the danger of inaction. Others have allowed corruption to fester, and are now seeing serious violations of freedoms…

… Nor does the region exist in a vacuum: lack of national enforcement in Europe means corruption is exported globally as foreign actors utilise weak laws to hide money and fund corruption back home.”

In the last decade, 26 countries in the region have either declined or made little to no significant progress, it warns.

Since its inception in 1995, the Corruption Perceptions Index has become the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. The Index uses data from 13 external sources, including the World Bank, World Economic Forum, private risk and consulting companies, think tanks and others.

The scores reflect the views of experts and business people. (See: The ABCs of the CPI: How the Corruption Perceptions Index is calculated.”

European countries watered down a landmark proposal to clean up business and stop corporate abuse. It is a loss for the women and men who work in terrible conditions around the world to make the goods that end up in our shopping trolleys. The only ones celebrating today is the regressive business lobby

Marc-Olivier Herman, Oxfam EU’s Economic Justice Policy Lead

Europe waters down a law to clean up business

The European Justice ministers on 1 December 2022 agreed on a proposal for a law to make companies accountable for the damage they cause to people and the planet.

In response, Oxfam EU’s Economic Justice Policy Lead, Marc-Olivier Herman, said:

“Today, European countries watered down a landmark proposal to clean up business and stop corporate abuse. It is a loss for the women and men who work in terrible conditions around the world to make the goods that end up in our shopping trolleys. The only ones celebrating today is the regressive business lobby.”

The original proposal was already a far cry from the game-changer law we expected. Now, after EU countries played their part, it is only weaker, warns Herman.

Many loopholes

“There are more and more loopholes allowing companies to escape their obligations to clean up their business.”

“The financial sector can continue to bankroll human rights violations and damage to the planet without being held accountable as it remains up to each European country to decide whether they want to make banks and other financial players clean up business.”

Anti-Corruption?

The 2022 International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December, states that the world today faces some of its greatest challenges in many generations – challenges which threaten prosperity and stability for people across the globe. The plague of corruption is intertwined in most of them.

An outstanding world body fighting crime: the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), reveals the following findings about the consequences of corruption:

Two Trillion US dollars in procurement is lost to corruption each year (OECD 2016)

89 billion US dollars a year is lost to corruption in Africa, close to double its 48 billion US dollars in foreign aid (UNCTAD 2020).

What else is needed to fight this human rights violation?

Part I of this story can be found here: Corruption: The Most Perpetrated –and Least Prosecuted– Crime – Part I

*SOURCE: IPS. Go to ORIGINAL

2022 Human Wrongs Watch

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