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Almost Half the People in Portugal Use Personal Connections to Access Public Services, Study Finds

A study into corruption in Europe found that 48% of respondents in Portugal relied on personal connections to obtain or access public services in the past 12 months. This is compared to an EU average of 33%. The study, The Global Corruption Barometer – the European Union, was carried out at the end of last year and surveyed more than 40,000 people across the region.

Interestingly, however, Portugal was not flagged as a country where many people reported having to pay bribes in order to access public services (3%), as compared with places such as Romania (22%), Bulgaria (19%), Hungary (17%) — Portugal was in fact below the EU average of 7%.

In a more general question, 88% of respondents in Portugal thought that “corruption in government was a big problem in their country.” What’s more, 41% of people in Portugal thought corruption had increased in the past 12 months (2020). The same study also found that 63% of respondents in Portugal thought that the government was “controlled by private interests,” which is only slightly higher than the EU average of 53%.

On a more positive note, 85% of respondents in Portugal believed that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption — the joint highest in the whole EU.

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