ECONOMY

Transparency International: Athens tackling graft better than Madrid

Crisis-hit Greece has taken steps to fight corruption while Spain is dragging its feet on tackling bribery, graft watchdog Transparency International said as it released its annual report on Tuesday.

“That’s one of the most interesting issues for us, the difference between Spain and Greece,” Finn Heinrich, lead researcher of the group’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, told AFP.

“You see two quite different responses to corruption in the context of economic crisis, and I think it bodes much better for Greece’s prospects then for Spain’s.”

Spain slipped from number 30 last year to number 40 on the group’s list of 177 countries.

Greece was further down the list but improved from number 94 to the 80th spot.

“The last couple of years both of them went down because of the euro crisis, which revealed that corruption was one of the contributors to the crisis but also exacerbated it,” said Heinrich.

“But this year for the first time Greece is getting better, and I think it shows the government is tackling corruption head-on there. There have been high-profile prosecutions, they have put in place somebody working closely with the prime minister who is coordinating anti-corruption activities.”

Heinrich said that “this is not happening in Spain, quite the opposite.”

[AFP]