Portugal’s fight against corruption “stagnating”

in News · 31-01-2019 10:20:00 · 0 Comments
Portugal’s fight against corruption “stagnating”

Portugal has lost one position in the latest corruption index published earlier this week by Transparency International.

Despite improving its rating by one point to 64 out of 100, Portugal was said to have stagnated, and is being overtaken by countries doing more to counter corruption.

The points gained by Portugal are slightly below that of the European average.

The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, with Portugal dropping for 29th to 30th.

The top countries are Denmark and New Zealand, while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are the opposite end of the index.

According to researchers, fourteen of the top 20 countries on this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) are from Western Europe and the European Union (EU).

With 88 points, Denmark returns as a global leader on the CPI, though its score remains unchanged from last year. In the region, Denmark is closely followed by Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, which each score 85.

At the bottom of the region, Bulgaria scores 42, dropping one point since last year. Bulgaria is followed by Greece (45), which dropped three points since 2017, and Hungary (46), which dropped eight points over the last five years.

With an average regional score of 66 out of 100, Western Europe and the EU are doing far better than other parts of the globe.

For the third year running, the top seven countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 consist of the four Nordic nations – Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway – plus New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. All score between 84 and 88 points out of 100 on the index.

While no country gets full marks on the CPI, the top performing countries have several democratic attributes in common that contribute to their high scores. This includes strong institutions, rule of law and high levels of economic development.
As a measure of public sector corruption, the CPI rewards countries where rates of bribery, diversion of public funds, conflicts of interest and other forms of corruption are perceived to be lowest within government.

But Transparency International said there is still significant room for improvement across the region. While there is an EU legislative proposal to improve protections for whistleblowers, there is a question mark over whether it will be agreed by Member States and ever reach the statute books.

Events of last year revealed how persistent corruption is in Western Europe and the EU, and how some European democratic institutions are exposed to corruption within their own ranks. An independent report from the Council of Europe confirmed that members of its Parliamentary Assembly were among the beneficiaries of the Azerbaijani Laundromat money laundering scheme, an effort by Azerbaijan to whitewash its international image.

In the last few years, several countries have also seen a rise in power of political leaders with populist tendencies, working to raise citizens’ fear of targeted groups.

In particular, several countries have harnessed anti-immigration sentiment to promote and justify undemocratic principles. These groups have often used digital platforms that lack transparency, and which are open to interference and abuse by foreign agents, to undermine democratic elections and processes. Across Europe, citizens’ trust in democracy has been harmed as a consequence.


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