Lima, Dec 17 (epa-efe).- The ambassador of the European Union in Peru signed an agreement here Monday with a consortium of civic groups to promote actions to equip journalists and citizens to battle corruption and promote public integrity.
Diego Mellado told EFE that it is "a project of about 400,000 euros ($450,000)" for which the EU will provide 360,000 euros, while the rest is to come from the four Peruvian organizations: Transparencia, Proetica, IPYS and the Andean Commision of Jurists.
Among the planned actions are seminars, exercises of citizen oversight and a ranges of events to promote awareness about the effects of corruption.
Mellado said that corruption and a lack of transparency are estimated to cost Europe 10 billion euros a year.
The president of Proetica, Jose Ugaz, said during the signing ceremony that last year Peru lost "$2 billion to the paralysis of the Southern Gas Pipeline, which means that 150,000 Peruvians have not been able to escape poverty."
The pipeline was one of several projects entrusted to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht during the 2011-2016 administration of Ollanta Humala, but the contract was subsequently canceled after the company admitted to having paid bribes to obtain lucrative public works concessions.
Ugaz, formerly Peru's chief anti-corruption prosecutor, said it was no coincidence that at a time when "corruption has increased significantly in the country," poverty has worsened, anemia affects nearly 47 percent of children in rural areas and "very significant sums (of money) are being lost."
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