Greece has failed to reduce corruption, with an estimated 750 million euro paid in bribes during 2008 in both the public and private sectors, according to a survey commissioned by the Greek branch of the global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International.
The Greek branch of Transparency International says this figure is 110 million euro ($A140 million) higher than in 2007.
Spokesperson Costas Bakouris said the majority of bribes – 60 per cent of the total – are related to doctor’s fees, tax evasion and building permits.
The survey, carried out by polling firm Public Issue among a sample of 6105 citizens on behalf of the watchdog, found that one in seven citizens paid so-called ‘fakelakia’ (little envelopes) last year. Yiannis Mavris of Public Issue noted that more than three-quarters of the ‘fakelakia’ were paid by citizens to civil servants in order to facilitate a procedure.
According to the survey, the average single bribe to a doctor in a state hospital is 870 euro, though there was one case when a patient gave 6000 euro.
To secure the issuance of a building license or “legitimise” an illegally constructed house, the average bribe needed is 2169 euro, though there reportedly has been an instance of 15,000 euro being paid under the table. The largest sums are paid to tax offices, usually for the regulation of outstanding debts, and can reach 30,000 euro. The average ‘fakelaki’ paid in a private clinic is 4543 euro.
Transparency International spokesperson Bakouris urged the government to enforce existing laws and create an anti-corruption taskforce answerable to Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.
Despite the increase in corruption, the survey found that the overwhelming majority of Greeks – 80 per cent – condemn corruption in public life.
In 2008, Greece ranked 57 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.