Abstract: The Corruption Scandal of the European Commission and its possible effects on the institutional balance and the question of legitimacy
I. Defining Corruption
The first chapter is an attempt to define corruption. It is important to divide overlapping and complicated terms such as corruption, scandal and fraud. Corruption is defined as an illegal transaction, where both actors benefit from their special position in the market or the government. Scandal is the public reaction to allegations of corruption and thus it is interconnected with the issue of legitimacy. Fraud, however is a purely criminal cathegory.
The European Commission is a multicultural and multinational institution of the European Union so it is vital to take into account the cultural relativity of the meaning of corruption. Corruption can only be defined within a specific society and at a specific time. This culture specific aspect of corruption is reflected in the division of so called black, white and grey corruption.
Black corruption in a given society is a repremanded behaviour both by the public and by experts. It is a well defined area of the untolerated behaviour. White corruption on the other hand is the behaviour that is tolerated by the public in a given society and not looked upon as misbehaviour. Grey corruption is the area in between, which is tolerated by a part of the society, while seen as corruption by the other part. It is also important to realize the dynamics of the definition of corruption, as it changes with geography or time from black to grey to white corruption (or vica versa). Corruption scandals are often only a sign of this change in the public perception of corruption.
These cultural differences can be observed in the member states of the European Union. There is a dividing line on the imaginary corruption scale between the Northern protestant countries (Denmark being the least corrupt) and the Southern catholic countries (with Italy at the lowest end of the corruption scale).
The corruption in the Mediterranian countries can be identified along the lines of amoral familiarism, and the constant use of mediators. The cause of this southern type of corruption is the relative weakness of tthe central government and the inefficiency of the buerocracy. These madiators came to be the only effective channels between central governments and peripheries. They were the seeds of organized crime of the maffia for example, which integrated into the central government.
In the northern part of the continent there is more emphasis on the notions of incompatibility and the conflict of interest. There are problems however around the financing of political parties.
II. The Organization of the European Commission
The Commission is at thte heart of the Union. It has a very important role in formulating policies, initiating legislation, overseeing implementation, make administrative decisions.
The Commission had a great impact on the poltics of the...