Report indicates corruption is still a major issue in the European Union

Staff writer

Five EU countries have been identified as not reaching the 50 per cent threshold in the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The study, published by the NGO Transparency International, analysed 180 countries, and when it comes to the EU, the misuse of its funds is still a big issue.

The perceptions index was based in answers from 12 independent institutions specialised in governance and business climate, with Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia and Greece falling below the 50 per cent mark.

Michiel van Hulten, Director of Transparency International EU told Euronews: "There is a lot of fraud committed with EU funds; involving EU funds, but it has been very difficult to tackle this effectively and one of the reasons is that all member states take a different approach.

"By having a single European Public Prosecutor that will be addressing and tackling these issues, I think we can be confident that it will be easier to take on these cases."

An associated report confirmed that while most post-communist EU member-states are not addressing the problem effectively, western states also have problems. The UK and France were among the four countries that lost at least three points on the index since last year.

In contrast, Spain improved by four points and Greece by three on the index, although Greece is still in the bottom half of the global ratings.

Transparency International focused this year's report on the risks of private entities financing political parties.

Malta was highlighted as a country to watch closely since it dropped six points since 2015, with the murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia remaining unsolved.