Greece is perceived as EU’s most corrupt state, falling behind usual suspects Bulgaria and Romania and scoring the same as China, an annual corruption index published by Transparency International shows.
Out of 178 countries surveyed, Greece ranked 78, together with a handful of other states: China, Colombia, Lesotho, Peru, Serbia and Thailand.
The EU’s newest member states Romania and Bulgaria, who last year shared the same position with Greece, have now distanced themselves to places 69 and 73, respectively.
The index is composed of 13 different expert and business surveys conducted between January 2009 and September 2010.
Just last week, senior Greek officials blamed rampant corruption in the country’s chaotic health care system for costing several billion euros a year.
“Pharmaceutical expenditure in Greece has doubled over the last four years and is now €9 billion per year, twice that of Belgium which is about the same size,” said Stephanos Komninos, head of the commerce department of the development ministry.
“A very large part of the expenditure is just black money which circulates among those who decide prescriptions for medications,” he explained.
Mr Komninos said corruption was not limited to the healthcare sector and was widespread in all public contracting due to a lack of transparency and failures by administrators.
Almost a year after Prime Minister George Papandreou had declared war on corruption and maladministration, the country’s has slipped even further down the ranking in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index.
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