(Brussels) 63% of companies in Europe believe that corruption is widespread and 51% say it is unlikely that corrupt persons or businesses are caught or reported to the police or public prosecutors. 45% say that the most widespread corrupt practice is favouring friends and relatives (in the private and public sectors), followed by the funding of political parties in exchange for public contracts or ad hoc policy making (34%), tax fraud (30%), free gifts (23%), and other corrupt practices (23%). For 78% of entrepreneurs, the main driving force behind corruption is the close link between business and politics; for 40% a safe way to succeed in business is to have political connections. This is according to a Eurobarometer survey published today by the European Commission to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day. Although some of the figures have improved compared to 2013, there is still a huge gap between European countries. In Romania, for instance, 88% of companies consider corruption to be a serious problem as opposed to 5% in Denmark. “Corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law, the very foundations of our European societies; its influence increases inequalities and undermines social cohesion”, said Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, commenting on the data. The European Union, she said, will “continue its cooperation with national authorities, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to eradicate corruption”.