Croatia is the European Union member with the highest level of corruption in public procurement and, along with Romania and Bulgaria, it ranks among the most corrupt countries of the EU, a survey commissioned by the European Parliament and carried out by the non-profit RAND Europe institutes shows.
Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria lead a group of 14 EU countries that have above-average levels of corruption, and the highest risk for corruption among public procurement contracts is observed in Croatia.
The survey shows that Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia lose about 15 percent of GDP to corruption, and that corruption costs the EU between EUR 179 billion and EUR 990 billion in GDP terms on an annual basis.
"What is more, the findings suggest that corruption has significant social costs (more unequal societies, higher levels of organised crime and weaker rule of law) and political costs (lower voter turnout in national parliamentary elections) and lower trust in EU institutions," the report says.
RAND Europe therefore proposes legal and regulatory measures at national levels, including extending the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) to other EU members. The CVM was launched by the European Commission ahead of the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU in order to help judicial reforms in the two countries and their fight against corruption and organised crime.
Application of this mechanism to other EU countries could reduce the costs of corruption in GDP terms by around EUR 70 billion annually, and Croatia could save about EUR 2.2 billion, according to the survey.