Seven of ten least corrupt countries European in new ranking
Denmark has reclaimed the top spot in a ranking of the world’s least corrupt countries, with six other European countries in the top 10.
Nordic countries claimed four of the top 10 spots in the 2018 ranking, which was released on 29 January. Finland and Sweden came joint third – together with Switzerland and Singapore – and Norway came seventh.
The other European countries in the top 10 were the Netherlands in eighth place and Luxembourg joint ninth with Canada. Germany and the UK came joint eleventh.
Denmark returned to the top spot, which it also claimed in 2016, after losing it to New Zealand last year. New Zealand came a close second this time around.
The ranking, called the Corruption Perceptions Index, is compiled by the organisation Transparency International. It ranks countries based on the views of experts and businesspeople using a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. Top-placed Denmark scored 88.
“While no country gets full marks on the CPI, the top performing countries have several democratic attributes in common that contribute to their high scores,” Transparency International said. “This includes strong institutions, rule of law and high levels of economic development.”
Of the 28 countries in the EU, Bulgaria scored lowest on 42, just above Greece on 45 and Hungary on 46. Hungary has dropped eight points over the past five years.
“With an average regional score of 66 out of 100, Western Europe and the EU are doing far better than other parts of the globe,” Transparency International said. But it added: “There is still significant room for improvement across the region.”
This year’s ranking “paints a bleak picture of anti-corruption efforts in Eastern Europe”, the organisation said. Only Georgia scored above 50, on 58, with all other countries scoring 45 or less.
“Combined with a lack of political will to combat corruption in the public sector, countries across the region are undermining the political rights of their citizens. As a result, people are unable to speak out, demonstrate or associate with organisations or activist groups – at least not without fear of consequences,” Transparency International said of Eastern Europe.
“At the same time, corruption locks these countries in a vicious cycle where the ruling politicians have no real incentive to allow for democratisation and strengthening of independent institutions.”
Among the seven EU countries in Eastern Europe that could potentially join the EU, Transparency International said: “Despite firm EU conditions on curbing corruption and ensuring institutions are free of political influence, many governments across the region fail to show true commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”
“Specifically, many of these countries fail to disclose sufficient information about electoral campaigns and political party finances. In addition, these countries act against civil society organisations, investigative journalists and political opponents.”