A recent survey shows European citizens are losing confidence in their governments, with popular trust in political parties dropping to record low in some countries.
The survey carried out by the Transparency International in 107 countries showed that only 23 percent of the studied people had approved of their governments’ anti-corruption efforts.
However, the figures were meaningfully lower in Europe, where a number of top political figures in Italy, Spain, and France face allegations of fraud and tax evasion.
In Italy, the report found that 13 percent felt corruption was being addressed; in Spain, the figure dropped to eight percent while in Greece and Portugal it was just one percent.
In Greece, Europe’s worst-hit economy, 9 in every 10 people surveyed said they think political parties are affected by corruption.
Valentina Rigamonti of the Transparency International said the crisis of confidence was very grave in economic crisis zones in Southern European, where countries are hardest hit by the global financial crisis.
Rigamonti, however, noted corruption remains a problem in all European countries, even in Nordic nations with a good reputation for transparency.
“No one of the countries in Europe is clean. All of them are involved in corruption, at different levels with different problems,” she stated.
William Bartlett of the London School of Economics believes the economic crisis in Europe has not necessarily aggravated corruption there.
He said corruption has been a problem across Europe for decades but has become more apparent due to austerity policies adopted by the governments and the public’s focus on government spending.
Bartlett warned that the loss of citizens’ trust in their governments is a major problem for cash-stripped European countries trying to implement harsher austerity measures.
“Countries such as Greece, France, Italy, where unemployment is increasing, living standards are falling – whenever these issues crop up, people think, why should we be taking the costs of all of these policies when politicians are not taking part, too?” he questioned.
According to the Transparency International survey, citizens of 51 nations see political parties as the most corrupt institution in their country, and more than 50 percent of those surveyed feel the government is run by big corporations and in line with their interests.
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