‘Breathtaking’ corruption across EU costing economy 99 bln pounds annually: European Commission

London, Feb. 4: Corruption at breath taking levels in Europe cost the EU economy at least 120 billion euros annually, the European Commission has said.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem has presented a full report on the problem, saying the true cost of corruption was probably much higher than 120 billion euros or 99 billion pounds.

Three-quarters of Europeans surveyed for the Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased, the BBC reports.

According to the BBC, for the report the Commission studied corruption in all 28 EU member states.

In Britain, only five people out of 1,115, less than one percent, said they had been expected to pay a bribe, which was best result in Europe.

However, 64 percent of British respondents said they believed corruption to be widespread in the UK, while the EU average was 74 percent.

In some countries there was a relatively high number reporting personal experience of bribery.

In Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, between 6 percent and 29 percent of respondents said they had been asked for a bribe, or had been expected to pay one, in the past 12 months, the report found. (ANI)