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Finland shares first place in corruption index

In Finland, the perceived level of public-sector corruption is one of the lowest in the world, according to Transparency International.

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Finland, Denmark and New Zealand all received an overall score of 88, outperforming every other country in the latest edition of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

Finland improved its score from the previous year by three in the face of challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, inching closer to the level it performed at in the first half of the 2010s.

Norway, Singapore and Sweden shared fourth place in the index with a score of 85, while the top 10 was rounded out by Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany. Two-thirds of the 180 countries and territories examined failed to earn a score of 50, with the average score coming down to 43.

Transparency International expressed its alarm about what it characterised as a “global standstill” in the fight against public-sector corruption, pointing out that 23 countries have seen their score decline and 131 stagnate in the past decade.

“Despite commitments on paper, 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption over the last decade and this year 27 countries are at historic lows in their CPI score,” the executive summary reads.

Countries in Western Europe and the European Union last year continued to grapple with “transparency and accountability” in their response to the pandemic, while in many other parts of the world increasing restrictions on accountability measures and civil and political freedoms fuelled corruption.

“Even historically high-performing countries are showing signs of decline.”

A number of countries have used the pandemic as pretext to curtail basic freedoms and sidestep important checks and balances, according to Transparency International. “And despite the increasing international momentum to end the abuse of anonymous shell companies, many high-scoring countries with relatively ‘clean’ public sectors continue to enable transnational corruption.”

The annual index measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in countries and territories based on data sources collected by independent and reputable institutions such as the World Bank and World Economic Forum. The score given to each country is a combination of at least three data sources.

By: Aleksi Teivainen