Serbians increasingly "paying bribes"

BELGRADE -- A new survey shows that 55 percent of Serbian citizens think the level of corruption has dropped "significantly - or at least a little," in the past two years.

The news conference that presented the survey (Beta)
The news conference that presented the survey (Beta)

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) poll further suggested that the citizens' perception of the extent of corruption is based on the fact that at the time when the survey was carried out several important investigations were opened.

It was "more an expression of hope that the situation will change than of the real state of affairs," representatives of Transparency Serbia told a news conference in Belgrade this week.

Transparency Serbia Program Director Nemanja Nenadić noted that, according to the results of the survey, over a half of Serbian citizens think that political parties, judiciary, public officials and civil servants, medical and health services are extremely corrupted.

A somewhat smaller number of citizens had such an opinion regarding Serbia's police, parliament and education system.

The prevalent opinion is that politics is under the influence of powerful people behind the scenes, which means that the authorities need to take concrete measures so as to persuade citizens that the fight is not selective and that each and every case will be investigated, Nenadić said.

Citizens saw the main sources of corruption in the political sphere, non-transparent decision-making processes and funding of political parties.

As the main reason for not reporting corruption, 61 percent of respondents say that it would not change anything, 24 percent fear of possible consequences, 13 percent say that they do not know whom to address.

The survey shows a big rise in the number of bribery cases in all fields considered, said Bojana Medenica from Transparency Serbia.

In 46 percent of cases, citizens paid bribe in order to speed up the procedure in some institution, while in 15 percent bribe was the only way to get the service.

Given the results, it could be concluded that several hundred thousand cases of corruption take place in Serbia every year, but on the other hand, only several hundred criminal charges were pressed for all corruption cases, Medenica said.

The survey was conducted in Serbia in September last year on a sample of over 1,000 citizens.