The EU report into corruption published in February shamed Italy by revealing that €60 billion of the €120 billion lost each year is being lost here. Half of the European total is shocking even for the most world weary observer of Italian politics. As Gian Antonio Stella wrote in the Corriere, “No country can survive with such a burden and with its reputation in tatters”.
After the Strasbourg get-together in 1999, the EU told us to set up something to fight corruption. We finally obliged in 2003, setting up the lovely named ‘High Commission of the Prevention and Contrast to Corruption’. (I say ‘set up’ because it wasn’t ‘operative’until the following year, some things are best not rushed). It had no powers for four years and was then disbanded, replaced by ‘Service for Anti-corruption and Transparency’. This body was criticised because it was part of the public administration, the very same hotbed of corruption it was supposed to investigate. This was then replaced by the sublimely named ‘Independent Commission for the Evaluation, Integrity and Transparency of Public Administration’ and after that Monti set another one up, which deflatedly concluded in its last report that ‘…politicians have not shown an interest in introducing new laws’.
A magistrate, ‘They didn’t even nominate a head of the Authority, just a panel of people chosen by Brunetta and including Martone who was involved in P3. Talking is one thing but facts are another…they constantly reduce the powers of the body fighting corruption’.
On the economic level it has a big impact too. In 2012, foreign investments in Italy fell by 70% to 0,6% of GDP compared to 2,8% in UK.
Corruption has a large, negative impact on the lives of everybody that lives here.
If our politicians don’t want to fight it because they benefit from it, what’s to be done?