The Washington, D.C.-based prestigious think tank the Brookings Institution estimates that corruption is costing Greece some 20 billion euros ($26.7 billion) which, combined with lost revenues from the country’s notoriously tangled and inefficient bureaucracy, is crippling efforts to reform the debt-crunched economy.
The General Inspector of Public Adminstration Leandros Rakintzis said, “Both combined make up about 30-32 billion ($40-$42 billion). If for 10 years, we could this or part of this, we might not have had all this public debt or all this crisis.”
That’s nearly equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) leaving Greece to have to borrow $325 billion from international lenders, who have demanded austerity measures in return.
According to research from the agency Transparency International that one of Greece’s Members of the European Parliament, Theodoros Skylakakis, recently presented, Europe loses 120 billion euros ($160.3 billion) annually to graft. At the same time, the government has failed to go after tax evaders who owe $70 billion.
Most of that is in health care, followed by tax departments, police, urban planning, customs and justice. “There’s extensive corruption that remains unpunished even in countries such as Germany. Greece isn’t the worst country. In Europe, we’re below middle, but not the worst,” Skylakakis said. Transparency International however, rated Greece the worst in Europe.