Think Europeans are unlikely to be corrupted by a bribe? Not according to a new EU report that calls European corruption "breathtaking" in scope and says it costs at least $120 billion a year, the BBC reports. The extent of corruption varies by country, but 75% of Europeans surveyed said it's widespread and over 50% say it's on the rise. "The extent of the problem in Europe is breathtaking, although Sweden is among the countries with the least problems," writes EU official Cecilia Malmstoem, who presented the report.
The survey gave the north fairly good marks: Danes, Fins, Luxembourgers, and Swedes had a positive view of their corruption levels and less personal experience of bribery, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Not so for Romania, Bulgaria, and other eastern-bloc countries like Poland and Slovakia, which led the corruption pack. Malmstoem recommended that EU countries follow Sweden's example by enacting laws on openness and transparency, but noted that "the political commitment to really root out corruption seems to be missing." (Click to see which federal jurisdiction in the US has the worst corruption.)