The European Commission on Monday in Brussels unveiled the first anti-corruption report of the European Union, EU, saying corruption costs the European economy $162 billion (about N25.9 trillion) annually.

According to the report, corruption is still a challenge which affects all EU member-states despite initiatives taken against it in recent years. The results of the initiatives, however, are uneven.

The report showed that public procurement was particularly prone to corruption in the member-states, owing to deficient control mechanisms and risk management. It said some sectors, including urban development and construction, healthcare and tax administration, also seemed particularly vulnerable to corruption.

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, said in her reaction that corruption undermined citizens’ confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law.

“It hurts the European economy and deprives states from much-needed tax revenue,” she said.

The commissioner said member-states had done a lot in recent years to fight corruption, but lamented that the report shows that it was far from enough. Ms. Malmstrom therefore urged EU member-states to follow proposals on counter-corruption listed in the report.

A Eurobarometer survey on the attitude of Europeans towards corruption published on Monday showed that 76 per cent of Europeans think that corruption is widespread; 56 per cent think that the level of corruption in their country had increased over the past three years; and eight per cent said they had experienced or witnessed a case of corruption in the past year.

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