Greek austerity reduces level of bribery: Survey

Greek austerity reduces level of bribery: Survey Athens: Fewer Greeks are paying bribes for services across the country nowadays, as three years of austerity seems to have taken a toll on petty corruption, a survey of Transparency International Greece showed Friday.

According to the survey of some 12,000 people by polling firm Public Issue, 8.6 percent of respondents were asked for bribes in exchange of services mainly in the public sector, but also in the private sector last year. In 2011, that figure stood at 10.2 percent, reported Xinhua.

The amount of bribes paid reduced according to the anti-corruption organization's estimates. In 2012, the total reached 420 million euros ($545 million) compared with 554 million euros in 2011 and 632 million euros in 2010.

On average, Greek citizens paid approximately 1,228 euros in petty bribes last year, down from 1,399 euros in 2011 and 1,623 euros in 2010 to speed up procedures in hospitals or tax offices.

The relevant pricelist has also been affected, with bribes now starting from 100 euros and reaching up to 25,000 euros, as the income of the average Greek has shrunk by 30 percent following cuts on salaries, pensions and tax hikes.

Experts pointed that the only way to counter the phenomenon is through the implementation of the structural reforms underway in the country.
IANS