Five EU states lag behind Turkey in transperancy
Five EU member states lag behind Turkey in Transparency International's 2012 report, revealed yesterday, with Greece recognized as the most corrupt country in the 27-nation bloc. The report added that crisis-hit nations were being held back by an inability to deal with graft. Turkey ranked 54, seven steps forward, in the nongovernmental organization's global list of corruption, which Denmark tops with the best record. Slovakia, Romania, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece were the EU member states ranking below Turkey, respectively. When Turkey's non-EU trade partners are considered, Iraq ranked 169, Syria ranked 144 and Russia ranked 133. Publishing its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, the Berlin-based watchdog ranked Greece 94th out of 176 countries. Perceived corruption in the country appeared to have worsened despite efforts to tackle graft. In last year's index, the debt-ravaged country was ranked 80th on a scale of least corrupt to most corrupt. Fellow eurozone struggler Italy also fared poorly, coming in 72nd – a decline from last year's study when the country was ranked 69th. The director of Transparency International (TI) in Germany, Edda Muller, told a news conference that the fight against corruption was intimately linked to the economic health of a country. "Therefore battling corruption is not just a moral necessity but it has a direct impact on the economic and political strength of a country." "The countries that are hardest-hit by the financial crisis have performed below expectations despite the reform efforts of recent months," Muller said. TI ranks countries on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). There is stronger public recognition worldwide of the costs of corruption, including in large emerging "BRIC" economies such as China and Brazil, and a growing refusal to accept it as an inevitable fact of life, the report said. At the top of the class this year were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, each with a score of 90 due to "strong access to information systems and rules governing the behavior of those in public positions." Lawless Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan remain rooted at the foot of the table, each scoring eight points. Afghanistan scored poorly despite efforts to tackle rampant corruption.