A report by Transparency International has analysed a range of critical societal institutions in Greece and assessed their ability to prevent corruption. The report finds that the Greek anti-corruption system has fundamental flaws, and the associated cost has had a serious impact on the Greek economy. According to the 2011 National Survey on Corruption in Greece, the cost of petty corruption in Greece last year was €554 million. Transparency International states that the average price of a bribe in Greece is €1406, and that bribes are most likely to be made in hospitals, tax offices and construction-license bodies.
The report identified the most significant cause of corruption in Greece as a crisis of values, caused by a long-standing acceptance of corruption and scepticism about the chances of preventing or resisting it. Transparency International reports that six out of ten Greeks expect public officials to abuse their position for personal gain, and the belief that leaders and officials are exploiting their authority results in individuals adopting a similar approach in their own lives.
Tax evasion was also identified as an important cause of the Greek debt crisis, and this would not be possible without corrupting the tax collectors. Tax evasion is widespread in Greece, which is facilitated by a poor system for tax inspections and an opaque tax code, which allows individuals to bribe inspectors and evade taxes. According to another Transparency International survey on Greece, published in 2010, the cost for evasive tax arrangements is between €100 and €20,000.
Transparency International also highlights how a "corrupted legality" has allowed corruption to become endemic in Greece. The laws in place to fight corruption are not being enforced, and many other laws effectively condone corruption. For example buildings built illegally can be approved at a later date, parking tickets can be made to "disappear" and accounts can be validated without being seen by a tax inspector.
The initial way forward suggested by Transparency International is to obligate political parties to make their accounts and donations publicly available, and to address the lack of corruption prosecutions along with the strength of the punishments for offences.
The report is available here.