120 billion euros ($162 billion) per year = corruption across the European Union.

Corruption across the European Union’s 28 countries costs about 120 billion euros ($162 billion) per year — a « breathtaking » sum equal to the EU’s entire annual budget, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said Monday.

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Malmstroem said the actual figure could be even higher, despite the estimate amounting to a little less than one percent of the bloc’s total economic output. « The extent of the problem in the EU is breathtaking, » Malmstroem wrote in an op-ed piece in Swedish newspaper Goeteborgs-Posten. « Corruption undermines faith in democratic institutions, drains the legal economy of resources and is a breeding ground for organised crime. »

Presenting the European Commission report, the bloc’s first, Malmstroem emphasised the figure was « an estimation » and said the actual amount is « probably… much higher. » She called on member states to do more to stamp out the problem, saying: « The price of not acting is simply too high. »

People’s opinions, from the BBC.