Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Greece Still EUs Most Corrupt

By Andy Dabilis on December 3, 2013

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The 2013 ratings of 177 countries by the Berlin-based NGO Transparency International (TI) released on Dec. 3 showed that Greece is still the most corrupt country in the European Union, while Denmark is the least.

The ranking is based on an analysis 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. Besides Denmark, as usual, the Scandinavian countries that have laws against corruption and enforce them, such as Finland and Sweden, while those with a reputation of flouting the law continue to rank the worst, such as Bulgaria, Italy and Romania.

Its so bad for Greece that the country was rated the same as China, where corruption is runaway. The rankings were essentially redundant as they continued to show the same bad actors and good actors with very little change.

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, TIs EU office director, putting a glimmer of optimism on otherwise grim news: Greece is still very corrupt but not very, very corrupt.

While still at the bottom of the EU list, Greece made slight improvements compared to last years score of 36. Spain dropped to 59, compared to 65 in 2012. Slovenia slipped by four points to 57. Last week the anti-corruption commissioner Goran Klemencic resigned in protest over a silent alliance to block anti-fraud laws leaving the corrupt to run amok.

Dolan said corruption scandals on political party financing and lack of adequate protection for whistleblowers has undermined peoples confidence in the government, just as the NGO says every year and nothing changes anyway. The ease with which dirty money can evade detection are problems that require a collective response from EU and national leaders, he noted, recommendations that are annually ignored.

Meanwhile, many non-European countries scored well, with New Zealand sharing the top spot with Denmark and 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, TIs 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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