Greece is the most corrupt country in Europe, study says


Riot police dodge a firebomb in Athens on Feb. 10.


Aris Messinis

Greece's government agencies have never had a sterling reputation.  The Wall Street Journal reported back in 2010  that corruption was fueling much of Greece's debt crisis. But now, Greece seems to have grown even more corrupt.

Transparency International, a corruption watchdog, reports that Greece has slipped in rankings in recent years and is the most corrupt country in Europe. Before voting for another austerity package, the government may want to consider changing its ways. “We believe that corruption in the public sector frequently goes hand in hand with a failure of institutions,” Edda Müller, who heads the German branch of Transparency International,  told the New York Times. “At the same time, we see, not only in Europe, a high amount of corruption points to a lack of ethics on the part of politicians.”

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 Every sector, from auto mechanics to civil servants to lawyers, are asking for bribes, the Greek Reporter reported. “Transparency International has consistently warned Europe to address corruption risks in the public sector to tackle the financial crisis, calling for strengthened efforts to corruption-proof public institutions,” the group said in a statement. 

Spain, Portugal, Italy also scored poorly. The index measures the perception of corruption just in the public sector. But Transparency Europe director told the Associated Press that the countries worst hit by the debt crisis also have the worst perceptions."It seems to me to be quite blatantly obvious that the lack of transparency in public finances in these four countries has been reflected in the figures," she said.