BERLIN — The countries worst hit by the European financial crisis also are perceived as being among the most corrupt in the European Union, and those perceptions appear to be getting increasingly negative, an international watchdog said in a report released Wednesday.
The index measures the perception of corruption in the public sector and not the financial sector.
“It seems to me to be quite blatantly obvious that the lack of transparency in public finances in these four countries has been reflected in the figures,” she said.
On a scale introduced for this year’s report, where 0 is “highly corrupt” and 100 is “very clean,” two-thirds of the 176 countries ranked scored below 50, which Transparency said indicates a widespread need for more openness in public institutions and more accountability for officials.
“Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making,” said Transparency International chief Huguette Labelle. “Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people.”
“This week’s events in Cairo amply demonstrate that the endemic political issues that drove people to the streets in Egypt are still valid,” said Transparency’s Middle East and North Africa director Christophe Wilcke. “Egypt’s score is another reminder to the country’s leaders that, despite the revolution, they have to fight corruption if they are to win the people’s trust and succeed in transitioning to democracy.”
The survey, first conducted in 1995, draws on a variety of sources that capture perceptions of corruption, including World Bank and World Economic Forum assessments, the African Development Bank’s governance ratings, and Transparency International’s own Bribe Payers Survey.
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia were ranked the worst overall, all tied with a rating of just 8.
Denmark, Finland and New Zealand were thought of as least corrupt, with scores of 90.
The United States was rated 73, 19th place. Canada scored 84, Germany 79, and Japan and Britain tied at 74.
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