• Abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continue to ravage societies around the world, says Transparency International (Photo: h.koppdelaney)

Denmark seen as least corrupt EU country

03.12.13 @ 09:29

  1. By Nikolaj Nielsen
  2. Nikolaj email
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BRUSSELS - Denmark is perceived as the least corrupt country in the EU, while Greece is seen as the most corrupt.

The Berlin-based NGO, Transparency International (TI), on Tuesday (3 December) published its 2013 corruption perceptions index, covering 177 countries.

The ranking is based on expert opinion of public sector corruption on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Seven of the 28 EU member states scored below 50.

Denmark scored 91. Finland and Sweden did well.

But Greece had the same score as China, on 40 points, while Bulgaria, Italy and Romania also came near the bottom end of the EU list.

Perception levels in the EU, compared to last year, did not change for the most part, but there are some exceptions.

“The major movements, they are not dramatic, but you see that Spain and Slovenia dropped, whereas Estonia, Latvia, and Greece have improved by four points,” said Carl Dolan, TI's EU office director.

While still at the bottom of the EU list, Greece made slight improvements compared to last year's score of 36.

Spain dropped to 59, compared to 65 in 2012. Slovenia slipped by four points to 57.

Slovenia's anti-corruption commissioner Goran Klemencic resigned last week in protest over a “silent alliance” to block anti-fraud laws.

TI's Dolan said corruption scandals on political party financing and lack of adequate protection for whistleblowers has undermined people’s confidence in the government.

“The ease with which dirty money can evade detection are problems that require a collective response from EU and national leaders,” he noted.

Meanwhile, many non-European countries scored in the same league as EU member states.

New Zealand shares the top spot with Denmark.

Uruguay, the Bahamas, and Chile all scored 71 along with France.

Germany slipped a point from last year and scored 78, but is still ranked in the top 12.

The worst performers are Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia, on just eight points each.

Huguette Labelle, TI’s chairman, said: “The better performers face issues like state capture, campaign finance and the oversight of big public contracts which remain major corruption risks."

The EU, for its part, is set to publish its first anti-corruption report early next year.

The European Commission estimates that corruption costs the bloc €120 billion every year.

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