In more than two-thirds of the countries surveyed, anti-corruption efforts have stalled or been rolled back, including in many of the world’s most advanced economies, according to the 2019 Corruption Perception Index, released by Transparency International. Although some progress has been made, most states fail to effectively fight corruption in the public sector.
The index ranks 180 countries and territories worldwide based on perceived level of corruption in the public sector on a scale of zero to 100, with zero signifying completely corrupt and 100 signifying a complete lack of corruption.
In the region of Central and Eastern Europe, Estonia has the highest rating coming in at 18th place. In Lithuania, the perception of corruption among citizens is higher at 60 points, putting it in 35th place. Of the three Baltic countries, Latvia, which is home to significant Russian interests, scores worst, coming in at 44th place. The biggest economy in the region, Poland, scored 58 points, marking four years of decline under PiS rule from 63 points in 2015.
Of the countries in the western Balkan region, only Montenegro has experienced a slight improvement in the fight against corruption, ranking at number 66, compared to 67 the previous year. Kosovo is in 101st place with 36 points, meaning that it deteriorated in the fight against corruption compared to 2018, when it was in 93rd place with 37 points.
“Kosovo is undergoing a change in parliamentary power, which could offer an opportunity for change,” Transparency International said in its report.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is also occupies 101st position alongside Kosovo, while last year it was 89th place.
Serbia fell from 87th to 91st, while North Macedonia is in the same position in Albania, with 35 points, in 106th place.
The worst corruption situation in Europe is to be found in Russia, which ranked 137th out of 180 countries evaluated, with 28 points.
Among the 28 EU member states, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria occupy the last three places in the index, with the problems of fraud and corruption linked to European funds highlighted as particular problems among central and eastern European member states.
Overall, Western Europe did better than the eastern European countries, though efforts can still be made here to step up the fight against graft. France (23rd) and the United Kingdom (12th), for example, both lost three points in one year, while Germany rose from 11th to 9th position.
Denmark and New Zealand are perceived to be the two least corrupt countries in the world, with Syria, South Sudan and Somalia once again in the bottom places.