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Corruption Watch: EU Ranks Cleanest -- But Region has Problems     Print Email

Europe continues to be world’s leading region in terms of corruption-free governance, according to the latest (November 2009) survey by Transparency International (TI), the Berlin-based watch-dog on corruption around the world. The biggest European countries are rated above the United States, but some east European nations continue to struggle with corruption. (The full report is available at http://www.transparency.org/.)

In TI’s annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Denmark holds the highest (least corrupt) score in Europe with a ranking of 9.3 (out of 10).  Denmark trails New Zealand, 9.4, ranked as the least corrupt country in the world.  But Greece, along with Bulgaria, Romania and EU-candidate Macedonia, all tied for 71st place (out of 180) place with the score of 3.8.   This ranking makes them the EU’s most corrupt countries. Greece has lost 0.9 points since last year’s survey when it ranked 57th in the world.  These countries’ “poor score shows that joining the EU does not automatically translate into a reduction of corruption,” TI commented. Bulgaria and Romania have both been sternly chided by Brussels about their alleged misuse of EU funds. 

The Corruption Perception Index is compiled by TI on the basis of thousands of interviews with businessmen about their experiences and perceptions of business dealings in various countries. As such, the survey has an element of subjectivity, but it is considered the best available index of country-by-country transparency.

The latest survey shows that the UK still has some corruption issues. It ranked 17th in the world with a score of 7.7 — unchanged from last year, when the UK incurred its worst-ever ranking in the decade-old CPI. 

The United States comes in just below Britain at 18th in the world with a score of 7.6.

Other EU countries in the top 10 (least corrupt) are Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Netherlands (tied for 6th) and Iceland (8th).  

The most corrupt country, according to TI’s survey, is Somalia -- with Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan and Iraq close behind.