According to a new report by the RAND organisation in America, corruption costs Italy more than any other European country.
Italy loses 236bn EUR a year to corruption, an astonishing 13% of GDP.
By contrast, the figure for France is 120bn EUR and 6% of GDP, while in Germany it’s as low as 104bn EUR, just 4% of GDP.
The proportion of Italians who think corruption is “extremely widespread” in their country is 89%, and 84% agree it is “part of the business culture”.
If Italy managed to eliminate corruption or even reduce it substantially it would transform the country’s fiscal position, allowing significant increases in public spending and/or tax cuts.
The level of money lost to corruption is larger than the entire public health budget, 12 times larger than the police budget and 16 times the size of the unemployment pot.
80% of Italians believe the problem is so common that most don’t even bother reporting it.
Similar levels of such views were found in over half of European countries, including Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Spain and many more.
The figure for the EU as a whole is 904bn EUR. It is believed ending world hunger would cost only 228bn EUR, in comparison.