By DON MELVIN
BRUSSELS — An anti-corruption group warned Wednesday that close ties between business and government in many European countries have enabled corruption and undermined economic stability.
The group, Transparency International, said in a voluminous report released in Brussels that many European countries had gaps in their laws governing lobbying, the financing of political campaigns and public access to information.
“Across Europe, many of the institutions that define a democracy and enable a country to stop corruption are weaker than often assumed,” said Cobus de Swardt, the group’s managing director. “This report raises troubling questions at a time when transparent leadership is needed as Europe tries to resolve its economic crisis.”
The report said four countries in southern Europe — Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain — “are shown to have serious deficits in public sector accountability and deep-rooted problems of inefficiency, malpractice and corruption.”
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