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Report: Finland 'still has work to do' in addressing corruption

An EU report on corruption in the union says Finland has to work to do in making public procurement decisions and election funding more transparent.

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Finland's network of cronies prohibits true transparency. Image: Kai Pfaffenbach / EPA

The EU commission has compiled the first report of its kind on corruption in the EU. The report bluntly addresses the performance of each EU member country, with suggestions how they might improve their operations. According to the report, Finland is a top country in terms of anti-corruption but there is still work to be done.

“Corruption in Finland is structural and the existence of a 'good old boys club' founded on mutual trust is a problem,” says Erkki Laukkanen, head of Transparency International Finland. But there is very little so-called street-level corruption in Finland, which encompasses things like bribing officials.

Decision-making in state investments is also problematic. Public procurements are often decided by private companies that have no obligation to reveal details publicly. 

Corruption costs the EU 120 billion euros each year

The second problem mentioned in the report is electoral funding. After a crisis in this area, Finland’s laws were changed, but it still impossible to verify the authenticity of election campaign donation declarations.

According to the organization, Finland is still missing a state-operated channel for informing authorities about transgressions, regulations to limit lobbying and clarify transparency, and a law to criminalize the use of fictional persons or ‘straw persons’ in bribery.

On the other hand, Germany still hasn’t even ratified the UN’s Convention against Corruption. Laukkanen believes that the EU should have mobilized earlier against corruption.

Survey: Only one per cent of Greek citizens believe there is no corruption in their country

A quarter of EU citizens and nine per cent of Finns believe that corruption affects their daily lives, says a survey published by the European Commission today.

The survey found that over 75 per cent of Europeans believe that corruption can be widely found in their country, with a full 99 per cent of Greeks believing this to be true.

The survey also showed that four per cent of EU citizens and less than one per cent of Finns estimate that they were asked or assumed to give a bribe in the last year.

Greece, Spain and Italy are considered to be the EU countries with the most corruption problems, while Finland and Denmark were judged to be least corrupt. 

4.2.2014 - This article was edited to correct the attribution of the report, which was published by the European Union and not Transparency International as originally reported here.

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