More than half of Bulgarians believe that the government is doing badly in the fight against corruption, and while 11 per cent hold that it is doing “fairly well”, none see it as doing very well, a Transparency International survey has found.
This emerges from Transparency International’s report entitled People and Corruption: Europe and Central Asia, released on November 16.
Thirty-six per cent of Bulgarians see corruption as the main problem facing the country.
Seventeen per cent of those who had had contact with a range of state institutions, from road police to schools and the public health system, among others, had paid bribes.
Of these, 19 per cent reported the incident. But when it comes to reporting corruption, of those Bulgarians seeing no point in doing so, 22 per cent see it as difficult to prove, 17 per cent think that nothing would be done, and 29 per cent are afraid of the consequences.
In the cases of Bulgarians who had contact with state institutions and paid bribes in the past 12 months before being polled, 13 per cent of the bribery cases involved the traffic police, 16 per cent the public health system, seven per cent the primary and secondary education system and two per cent for official documents.
Twenty per cent perceived corruption among the President, Prime Minister and their officials.
Asked what would be most effective against corruption, 37 per cent of the Bulgarians polled said, “nothing”. To the same question, 25 per cent said it would be best to refuse to pay bribes, and 10 per cent said that reporting corruption would be the most effective step.
As to whether ordinary people could make a difference in the fight against corruption, 18 per cent of the Bulgarians polled said that they disagreed, 19 per cent said that they agreed and 18 per cent responded “neither agree nor disagree”.
Asked how the government was handling the fight against corruption, 28 per cent of Bulgarians in the survey said “very badly”, 26 per cent “fairly badly” and 11 per cent “fairly well.” Under the “very well” column, the number of Bulgarians who agreed was zero per cent.
Transparency International said that for its report, it spoke to nearly 60 000 citizens in 42 countries in Europe and Central Asia about their daily life experiences with corruption.
One in three citizens in in the region think corruption is one of the biggest problems facing their country. This figure rises to two in three in Moldova, Spain and Kosovo, “showing that urgent actions against the abuse of power and secret deals are needed,” TI said.
“From Spain to the UK and Turkey, support for populist and nationalist movements is on the rise in Europe and Central Asia. While the reasons are manifold and complex, corruption is central to the story – both the failure of governments to properly address corruption and their complicity in corrupt or clientelist schemes.”
Bribery is a far too common experience for many households in the region, Transparency International said.
It said that, on average, one in six households paid a bribe for access to public services.
Although few households paid bribes when coming into contact with public services in EU member states, rates were significantly higher further east; the highest rates were in Tajikistan (50 per cent), Moldova (42 per cent), Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Ukraine (38 per cent for each).
Romania had the highest rate for an EU member state at 29 per cent, followed by Lithuania with 24 per cent, Transparency International said.