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Migration and Home Affairs
News article13 July 2022Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs2 min read

Citizens and businesses have spoken – corruption remains a serious problem in EU countries

Symbolic - Real estate and money

On 13 July 2022, the European Commission releases two new Eurobarometer surveys showing the public’s opinion on corruption:

While the first survey gives an overview of what Europeans think of and how they perceive corruption in their country, the second Eurobarometer survey focuses on corruption in the business world and how it effects companies.

The majority of Europeans believe corruption is widespread

Comparing results across the EU, 68% of EU citizens believe that corruption is widespread in their country. The result is 3 points lower when compared to 2019 but corruption remains a serious issue, as 58% of respondents do not think government efforts to combat corruption are effective.

Citizens and businesses have spoken – corruption remains a serious problem in EU countries

Based on survey results, national authorities should inspire greater confidence in people to report cases of corruption. Up to 6% of Europeans say they experienced or witnessed a case of corruption in the last 12 months, but only 15% of them reported the issue. In general, the majority of people do not know where to report corruption, and almost half think that cases of corruption are hard to prove.

Citizens and businesses have spoken – corruption remains a serious problem in EU countries

Corruption hampers healthy competition

34% of companies in the EU see corruption as a serious problem. This perception varies considerably across EU countries. The highest proportion of companies for which corruption is a problem are seen in Romania (70%), Greece (75%) and Cyprus (78%), while the lowest ones are observed in Denmark (7%), Ireland (8%) and Estonia (9%).

Citizens and businesses have spoken – corruption remains a serious problem in EU countries

Companies agree that too close links between business and politics in their country lead to corruption (79%) and that favouritism and corruption hamper business competition (70%).

Low trust in national institutions to combat corruption

Europeans are pessimistic about actions taken at national level to address corruption as a crime. Only a minority think that:

  • Measures against corruption are applied impartially and without ulterior motives (37%).
  • There are enough successful prosecutions to deter people from corrupt practices (34%).
  • Their national government’s efforts to combat corruption are effective (31%).
  • There is sufficient transparency and supervision of the financing of political parties in their country (31%).

What can the EU do to fight corruption

The survey results are an important source of information for the European Commission when developing EU law and taking action against corruption.

  • In May, the Commission proposed a new Directive on asset recovery and confiscation to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains and limit their capacity to commit further crimes.
  • The European Public Prosecutor’s Office investigates and prosecutes the perpetrators of fraud and corruption affecting the EU’s budget.
  • Together with the release of the Eurobarometer surveys, the Commission issued a new EU Rule of Law Report, which includes an in-depth qualitative assessment of EU countries’ efforts in preventing and fighting corruption.

More information

Special Eurobarometer on Corruption

Flash Eurobarometer on businesses’ attitudes towards corruption in the EU


Publication date
13 July 2022
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs