Corruption in Bulgaria up to triple the EU average: study
(SOFIA) - Corruption in Bulgaria is two to three times higher than the average in the 27-member European Union, with some 150,000 bribes paid out on a monthly basis, a new report found Monday.
Corruption here was an "endemic problem," the Sofia-based Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) said in its 2011-2012 study, for which it asked people how often they took part in corrupt activities and how much they felt pressured to do so.
People's perceptions of corruption within the judiciary, the police and the customs, public health and education authorities was twice as high as the EU average, the study found.
When probed whether they had been asked for a bribe over the past 12 months, the results were even more dire.
On this question, Bulgaria had a corruption level of 25 points on CSD's index, compared to the EU average of eight points. Only Romania, Lithuania and Slovakia were higher.
"Due to the impunity with which corruption is carried out at the higher levels of power... Bulgaria is one of the few -- if not only -- European countries with no proven political corruption," the study said.
This was a reference to the Bulgarian judiciary's failure to ever find a top political figure guilty of corruption.
In 2011, one out of four people handed over money or a gift in exchange for regular bureaucratic work, up from 2010, the report found.
Since Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, Brussels's watchful eye and some reforms have had some noted impact.
The number of people who said they were pressured to pay a bribe fell to 48 percent, from 70 percent five years ago, the study found.
At the same time however, the number of Bulgarians who freely handed over money or a gift without being explicitly asked to do so had risen to 11 percent from a previous four percent, it said.
Bulgaria, like neighbouring Romania, is still subject to strict monitoring by Brussels over its slow and inefficient judiciary, rampant corruption and organised crime.