World

Perceptions of Corruption Widespread in Bulgaria

But use of money or personal connections to obtain favors considered improper

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- As one of the new kids on the European Union block, Bulgaria is under some pressure to demonstrate their commitment to the rule of law. In January, Bulgaria and its Black Sea neighbor Romania were given full EU membership status in spite of persistent concerns about corruption and the need for further judicial system reforms in both countries. José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said recently that "both governments recognize that they must show their own citizens and other EU member states that they are serious about making the judicial system work and tackling corruption."

Gallup World Poll data collected in February 2007 indicate that about four in five Bulgarians (81%) believe corruption is prevalent in their country's government. The business world fares little better, as 77% of Bulgarians believe corruption is widespread in the country's businesses.

Bribes and Use of Personal Connections

Under communism, when many goods and services were scarce, the use of personal connections to obtain special treatment may have fostered a culture of corruption. However, a look at Bulgarians' attitudes toward the propriety of such actions in the post-communist era reveals a different mindset.

Majorities of Bulgarians currently say "buying" favors through the use of personal influence or monetary bribes is improper. For example, 89% say giving money to have a traffic violation removed is not acceptable. Similar percentages of Bulgarians say giving small gifts or using friends or relatives to avoid paying for a traffic infraction is unacceptable. Bulgarians display similar attitudes vis-à-vis the use of personal connections to obtain other positive outcomes as well.

In order to get better care in a hospital/to avoid paying for traffic violation/
to help your child get into a good school/to get a profitable government contract,
is it acceptable to use relations/give small gifts/give money?


Results in Bulgaria
February 2007

Yes,
acceptable

No,
unacceptable

%

%

In order to get better care in a hospital is it acceptable …

 

 

to use relations (friends', relatives' help)?

25

70

to give small gifts?

27

69

to give money?

8

86

 

 

In order to avoid paying for traffic violation is it acceptable ... 

 

 

to use relations (friends', relatives' help)?

8

85

to give small gifts?

6

88

to give money?

4

89

 

 

In order to help your child to get into a good school is it acceptable ...

 

 

to use relations (friends', relatives' help)?

15

77

to give small gifts?

10

82

to give money?

6

85

 

 

For a small private business to get a profitable government contract is it acceptable ...

 

 

to use relations (friends', relatives' help)?

12

78

to give small gifts?

9

81

to give money?

6

83

Recent results from the Eurobarometer, a European Commission poll that gauges public opinion in the EU, revealed that 78% of Bulgarians are not well-informed about measures taken at the European Union-level to fight corruption. Findings from both polls suggest implementation of strong judicial system reforms, prosecution of high-level corruption cases, and better communication of anti-corruption policies are crucial to raising Bulgarians' optimism about their future as an EU member state.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,003 adults in Bulgaria aged 15 and older, conducted in February 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ¬Ī3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/28285/Perceptions-Corruption-Widespread-Bulgaria.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030