Varoufakis issues warning on ‘puny’ EU recovery fund
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The European Court of Auditors (ECA) found on Monday that the Brussels bloc has a weak approach to combatting money laundering, leaving member states to manage the issue at an individual level.
In a special report, the ECA wrote: “EU-level weaknesses with regard to money laundering and terrorist financing need to be addressed, and the EU’s supervisory role significantly strengthened.
“Much more needs to be done to ensure that the EU law is implemented promptly and coherently.
“For a start, the EU should use regulations in preference to directives wherever possible, given the need for legislation to be implemented coherently at Member State level.”
The court found that the value of suspicious transactions within the EU is estimated to be hundreds of billions of euros.
The findings come after a scathing report revealed 62 percent of Europeans believe corruption is a “big” problem in their country.
The Global Corruption Barometer for the EU prompted a stark warning from an MEP and transparency campaigner, who claimed the issue is expected to worsen as Brussels begins to hand out vast sums to pandemic-stricken countries to boost their economies.
German Daniel Freund told Politico: “Corruption in EU member states is an enormous problem, and at the same time, member states and the EU Commission are doing too little to tackle the problem.”
He added: “The problem will become much worse in the coming months.”
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The anti-corruption activist called for more funding to be pumped into the newly formed European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
He also complained that the “existing rule-of-law mechanism is still not being applied” to hold back funds from EU nations flouting the bloc’s rules and regulations.
Trust in national governments has appeared to plummet during a health crisis, according to the study by campaigners Transparency International.
Almost a third of EU residents – the equivalent of 106 million people – claimed they had been directly hit by corruption, including paying bribes or using personal connections to access public services.
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Around 29 percent of people admitted to using personal connections in order to get access to healthcare during the pandemic.
And six percent said they had paid a bribe for healthcare, according to the survey of more than 40,000 people in the EU from October to December 2020.
Corruption was found to be on the rise by the pollsters at Kantar, who carried out the study.
In Cyprus, 65 percent of people believe corruption in their country has increased in the past 12 months.
In Slovenia, who will take over the EU’s rotating presidency next, the figure was 51 percent.
Portugal (41 percent) and Italy (34 percent) also featured in the top ten countries deemed to be affected by fraud.
And most people believe politicians are to blame for the high levels of corruption in their countries.
When asked whether “most all people in the following institutions are corrupt”, 28 percent of people said members of parliament.
A quarter said business chiefs were corrupt, while bankers and the offices of the prime minister or president were both mentioned by 23 percent of respondents.
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