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Transparency International publishes “Global Corruption Barometer EU”

With the “Global Corruption Barometer EU” published on June 15, 2021 (“Corruption Barometer”), Transparency International draws a split picture of the EU. The EU is generally considered a prosperous, stable, and democratic confederation but similar to the Corruption Perception Index 2020 Report, Transparency Internationals conveys that also the EU is prone to corruption – to a certain but considerable extent. The trends and developments presented in the Corruption Barometer are based on a survey with more than 40,000 participants from all 27 EU member states.

Perceived Corruption heavily increased during the last 12 months

Perceived Corruption

On average, 32% of respondents to the survey stated that they perceived corruption in the EU to have increased significantly over the past 12 months. This statement applies in particular to Cyprus (65% of the respondents perceived an increase in corruption), whereas in, e.g., in Finland only 16% of the respondents perceived an increase in corruption and bribery.

The survey results are much more drastic with regard to the independent action of national governments. On average, 53% of respondents perceive the actions of their national governments as being driven by private interests. In addition, 28% of respondents consider the majority of the members of the EU Parliament to be corrupt. Thus, EU parliamentarians form the leading group amongst the groups of people or institutions considered by the survey to the Corruption Barometer. The members of the EU parliament are even considered as more corrupt than, e.g., the financial sector, national governments, NGOs, and the police.

Corruption in the Healthcare Sector


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the now available vaccinations against COVID-19, the healthcare sector has come into focus of as a key factor for the increased level of perceived corruption. According to the Corruption Barometer, the vaccine shortage and the lure of normality enticed 6% of respondents to have secured necessary medical treatment through bribery within the last 12 months. However, 29% of respondents indicated that they had used their personal contacts, e.g., to obtain a vaccination appointment.

Transparency International Publishes Recommendations

With the Corruption Barometer, Transparency International published seven recommendations aiming to enable EU citizens to live a corruption-free life. These measures range from calling for greater transparency in government decisions and more democratic codetermination, protecting all EU citizens affected by corruption (in particular by implementing the EU Whistleblower Directive into national laws (see our blog post of February 18, 2021) and ensuring that relevant misconduct is investigated and prosecuted.


The Corruption Barometer supports the statements and results outlined in the Corruption Perception Index 2020 Report for the EU member states. The COVID- 19 pandemic has severely tested the integrity and the political stability of EU member states revealing unsparing gaps. While only Malta and Poland were classified as “countries to watch” in the Corruption Perception Index 2020 Report, the Corruption Barometer shows that even countries with a currently perceived low risk of corruption may be prone to significant hidden corruption risks. This also applied to Germany: 26% of the interviewees perceived an increased level of corruption and bribery in Germany and 62% of the interviewees agree to the statement that the national government is mainly pursuing private interests. It remains to be seen how the newly established European Public Prosecutor’s Office (see our blog post of June 15, 2021) will be able to counteract the trends identified by Transparency International.

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To the website of Transparency International.