Corruption costs [press release] EU member states approximately €120 billion each year, according to the European Commission (EC) [official website] EU Anti-Corruption Report [text, PDF] released Monday. The first-ever EC report on the subject details the nature of corruption in each member state as well as the impact corruption has on the European economy. In a press conference on Monday, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom [official website] stated [press release] that four out of 10 European companies consider corruption an obstacle for doing business within the EU, a troubling figure during a time of economic and financial crisis. She went on to say that while the level of corruption varies between member states and that many states have already begun placing more focus on addressing this issue, there is still no "corruption free" zone in Europe and more needs to be done to eradicate it.
While this is the first report that the EC has published on corruption within its member states, it is not the first time the EU has addressed the issue. In January the EC released its semi-annual Cooperation and Verification Mechanism report on Romania, warning the nation [JURIST report] to end political pressure on the judiciary amid continuing concerns over corruption. In 2011 Croatian officials were put under serious pressure [JURIST report] to tackle the issue of corruption within their country in order to gain accession [criteria materials] to the EU. In 2010 the EC released reports [JURIST report] stating that Bulgaria and Romania must do more to combat corruption and organized crime and conduct judicial reforms in order to enjoy their full rights as members of the EU. In 2009 a council for the EU said that Turkey needed to do more [JURIST report] in terms of judicial reform, protection of citizens' rights and various other efforts in order to further their request to be granted accession.