Corruption constitutes a key factor in the public’s loss of confidence towards the state, politicians, and institutions, Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis said on Thursday.

Speaking at an event at the presidential palace, Yiolitis said corruption was one of the biggest problems globally and its spread is a threat to the foundations of the economy and democracy, diverting resources from productive sectors, and undermines the effectiveness of public spending.

“Corruption constitutes a complex phenomenon with economic, social and political dimensions,” she said. “It creates uncertainty in the business environment, hinders procedures, and usually leads to additional cost for businesses.”

The event marked the start of a series of training courses addressed to public servants, aiming at the effective tackling of the problem and the creation of a state based on proper values and principles.

Yiolitis said corruption made the state less attractive to investors, thus undermining an economy’s growth potential.

“At the same time, corruption is the key factor corroding the people’s and society’s trust towards the institutions, politics, and state services,” the minister said.

The justice minister said real willingness was a necessary condition for effective, long-term national reforms.

“The government has proven that it seeks to comprehensively and holistically tackle the problem of corruption and afford radical solutions,” she said.

Towards this, the government has pushed an amendment of the penal code, raising the penalty for corrupt public servants from three to seven years in jail, the minister said.

She added that the government was also continuing efforts to pass several bills “enriching the legal arsenal” to fight the phenomenon.

“I regret to observe that important bills, like the one providing for the creation of an independent authority against corruption, which were discussed in depth by the relevant House committees, but they were not put to the vote.”

Yiolitis expressed hope that the new parliament would kickstart the process soon.