Mathew Bennett, The Spain Report, Dec 3, 2014


pain was awarded a score of 60 this year by Transparency International in its annual corruption ranking: 37th out of 175 countries, on a scale ranging from 0 (Somalia) to 92 (Denmark). According to Valentina Rigamonti, Transparency’s Coordinator for Europe, there is a “slight improvement” this year: “Corruption is everywhere in Spain, not only in one political party or region, it is really in every sector in Spain”. The country is several places behind France (26th) and Portugal (31st) this year, but ahead of Greece and Italy, which hold joint 69th place. On Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s repeated announcement of “new” anti-corruption measures, Rigamonti said: “They are announcing them, but the main effort should be to implement and enforce them. If you think about Italy, there were also some measures announced in 2012, but like in Spain, there is no real implementation or enforcement of the anti-corruption measures”. [The latest batch of corruption scandals to have rocked Spanish politics in the last few months have not been included. The last one regarding the ex Finannce Minister and former General Director of the IMF, Rodrigo Rato, was not included in the report]. At the beginning of November 2014, the Spanish chapter of Transparency International published a statement urging Spanish political parties to reach a grand agreement on a list of 20 proposed anti-corruption measures, calling the situation in the country “overwhelming”. In another report, in 2013, the Global Corruption Barometer, 83% of Spaniards were reported as feeling their political parties were “corrupt or extremely corrupt”. 67% felt the same way about the Spanish Parliament.

Corruption and fraud are now considered by Spanish citizens, in opinion surveys, the country’s leading problems after unemployment. Transparency’s Regional Director for Europe, Anne Kock, wrote on the organisation’s blog that: “This year has been marked by numerous scandals in the heart of ‘old Europe’: in France, Spain and Italy they included former Presidents [Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Sarkozy], former regional Presidents [Mr. Jaume Mata and Mr. Manuel Chaves, from Baleares and Andalusia, respectively], members of the royal family [the King’s sister, Cristina de Borbón, and his brother-in-law, Mr. Iñaki Urdangarin], not to mention dozens of politicians and business people. EU citizens have protested against corruption this year in Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia”.

Get in deeper:

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Rato Probe Casts Shadow Over Rajoy GovernmentA Lot of Bad ApplesSpain’s Anti-Corruption Parties Shake Up Old Politics
Spain’s centre-right government is battling to contain the fallout from a tax investigation against Rodrigo Rato, former head of the IMF and a former senior leader of the ruling party. Mr Rato was briefly detained last week: his home and office were searched by tax investigators.Tobias Buck, Financial Times, 22 April, 2015
The Economist, Nov 8th, 2014
James Badcock, BBC, 14 March, 2015
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