December 1st, 2011
06:11 AM GMT
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Greece and Italy are perceived as corruption-tainted and this is hampering efforts to tackle the eurozone crisis, a new report suggests.

According to corruption watchdog Transparency International, the two countries at the center of the debt crisis scored poorly on the group’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. On a scale of ten, Greece scored 3.4 and Italy 3.9, ranking 80 and 69, respectively, on the list of 183 countries.

The Corruption Perception Index ranks countries according to their perceived levels of corruption in the public sector.  The 2011 edition drew on data from 17 surveys conducted between December 2009 and September 2011, which assessed factors such as bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement, and anti-corruption efforts.  Countries evaluated in at least three of the surveys were included in the ranking.

“Eurozone countries suffering debt crises, partly because of public authorities’ failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of debt crisis, are among the lowest-scoring EU countries,” the group said in a release.

Greece and Italy both accumulated massive deficits over the last decade that led to rounds of bailouts and austerity measures this year.  The prime ministers in both countries were forced to step down in November amid intense public outrage.

However the European pair fared somewhat better than Somalia, North Korea, Myanmar, and Afghanistan, the countries at the bottom of the list.

New Zealand came in first place with a score of 9.5, followed by Finland and Denmark with scores of 9.4.  Two thirds of the list had scores below 5.0, with new entrant North Korea ranking at the bottom with a score of 1.0.  Other notable rankings within Asia included Singapore in 5th place with a score of 9.2; Hong Kong in 12th with 8.4, and China in 75th, scoring 3.6.

RANK                   COUNTRY                  SCORE

Top 5

1                           New Zealand                  9.5

2 (tie)                   Denmark                          9.4

2 (tie)                   Finland                             9.4

4                           Sweden                             9.3

5                           Singapore                        9.2

Bottom 5

177 (tie)               Sudan                                1.6

177 (tie)               Turkmenistan                1.6

177(tie)                Uzbekistan                      1.6

180 (tie)               Afghanistan                     1.5

180 (tie)               Myanmar                          1.5

182 (tie)               North Korea                     1.0

182 (tie)               Somalia                              1.0

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soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. gico

    Do you realize what kind of crud you are purveying? Of all things, rubbish from "Hearsay International". Do you think we're all so stupid as not to understand that you are talking about a "PERCEPTION" index. That's just not facts. You should really try to fire-up your other neuron and try to understand that the methods used by this bunch of charlatans are totally flawed. They're just pretending to run stats on surveys based on what people think of these countries. Trouble is, most of these people wouldn't even be able to place them on a map. They just respond on the basis of what they think the media want to hear.
    The USA is probably just as corrupt – think of all the lobbies, lobbyists, Dick Chaney, the crooked books of ENRON etc. – you just happen to have a better press.

    Your coun

    December 1, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  2. Kaj Embren

    This is one of the basic rules in all societies – any development to build a sustainable society need to be free from corruption.
    But, reality is there and thats why we should promote the work of Transparency International. At the same time it is also important to show the best practise work that create values for the society – One of the most interesting stories that passed my eyes are connected to Norways Oilfund – Red more about Revolution, recession and sustainability at

    December 1, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  3. Logical

    the US is not listed at the top of the chart here, so it's not as if CNN is saying the US is an icon in this area. What is interesting is that 3 of the countries in the top 5 are scandinavian. Perception or not, that is a very small area of the world, yet obviously it has a set of ethics that is either cultural or in some way infused in that society.

    December 1, 2011 at 9:39 am |

    Well, it doesn't take much to determine that this index should be highly questioned. For example, Spain is shown as 7+, yet corruption is rampant in this country! The news is full of reports every day! Even the son-in-law of the King is apparently involved in ripping off the tax payers.

    December 1, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  5. groovesoop

    This is a highly respected index across the world by those who pay attention to policy. It shouldn't be cast off so easily. The point is there is is corruption everywhere, some are far worse than others. The type of corruption can be debatable, which is why it's a perception index. If people perceive corruption, then something is wrong. If enough do, then it affects the score and is a reliable indicator of problems. The rankings for the most part accurately represent the common sense thinking about certain countries. Use the data for improvement. Don't shoot the messenger.

    December 1, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  6. Nostromo45

    Yeah, "American Expat" – I have also noticed how corruption has increased here in Spain, let's say in the last 10-15 years.
    However, it should be pointed out that this corruption is basically limited to the "big shots" in politics, at regional and local levels in some "ayuntamientos", as well as in anything related to land and building developments – "urbanización".
    However, there is no corruption at lower levels – or very little, usually confined to a few policemen, for example.
    On the other hand corruption is rampant at all levels in Greece, putting it down at the level of countries like Colombia, for example.
    It is no accident that countries with the lowest corruption index are precisely those with the highest standard of living. Corruption is a cancer which severely hobbles any country's pretext at being progressive and modern.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  7. Paul Johnston, PhD Economics


    Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    December 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  8. John

    Agree, it's all krap! NZ's credit rating was downgraded only recently and the country sunk into deficit mode for the first time in history. It is still going through persecution of financial managers who got away with tax evasion and or investors money, little old grandparents among the victims..

    December 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  9. anillusion

    ADD SPAIN to the list. Most spanish public officials smile when corruption is mentioned, meaning that they tacitly approve of it. Not so funny if you have been a victim of an arbitrary planning decision by a spanish mayor and his cronies. The spanish authorities have never taken corruption seriously with the result that trials are rare, sentences short and they usually get to keep the money, property etc.

    December 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  10. Bruno

    US of A is the most corrupt.

    December 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  11. elprimo

    people corruption goes both ways!!!! those you accept it (passive corruption) i.e Greece, Italy, Spain....and those you give it (active corruption)!!! U.S.A, Germany, France ...were ALL one big happy family....

    December 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  12. elprimo

    sorry for my wording.. what i meant to say is.... a)people,

    and those Who accept it and those Who give it...

    December 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  13. Velocity Zx

    There is something wrong with the statistics, Greece should be below Somalia, the country is corrupt through and through,
    There is not a single public department where you are not expected to bribe in my opinion.

    Britain definitely comes just above Italy, mostly local government and Police seem corrupt to me, I could be wrong, but hey, pigs can probably fly too....

    December 2, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  14. Justin Case

    We have lots of corruption in Finland, WE JUST DON'T CALL IT CORRUPTION. It's all around us in every level of society! politicians are taking media representatives to ski in lapland and paying all. Big companies are taking city leaders to cruises so they can talk about land thay need for their malls. Middlesize companies buying something from local small companies as long as the small company is not trying to compete with the bigger company and so on. This is a tradition and way the business works in Finland. And I tell you its all acceptable here.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  15. gsav

    Strangely enough, people that have never been in Greece became experts overnight. There is absolutely no comparison with Colombia. No serious drug cartel problem in Greece or related issues of that sort. The transparence index is just that, an index. Countries should use it to do better, but it's by no means accurate. A Greek can compare Greece with Italy, Spain or Germany and figure out if the country is corrupt or not, a Colombian will probably compare it to Argentina, Brazil and the like. The neignbourhood plays part in the index. Plain and simple. So, judging with European standards a Greek would say that Greece is corrupt – and as far as I am concerned it is, up to a degree. Judging it with South American or African/Asian standards it could be better that great.

    December 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  16. LM

    I think this data is incorrect.The people that made this survey obviously got their facts wrong.Personally I don't trust any survey agencies.It looks to me that someone took the results for "living standart" and changed the topic.It doesn't mean that the richer countries are less corrupt, it means that their corruptions lies on top level, the so called "highrollers", but if you truly think about it if the king is corrupt, the whole kingdom goes down the drain, only slower.........

    December 3, 2011 at 5:19 am |
  17. Btangos

    CNN can you stop this ANTI-EURO Propaganda. You are using British sources again and again when talking about Europe while Britain doesn`t use the EURO to Start with. Even CCTV China doesn`t put out as much Propaganda.

    December 3, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  18. CraigNL

    We all know that the south of Europe is corrupt as hell. Why do people think the Northern resistance to be forced into a united Europe with the southern states is so fierce?

    December 3, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  19. Teddy G

    Unfortunatly all roots of corruption can be traced back to the corportations of France and Germany. Seimens is the first to come to mind; they had a blank check to buy off every official in Europe and the German government turned the othe cheek as long as the "borrowed money" made it back to their country in terms of profit and growth!

    December 4, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  20. Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    December 5, 2011 at 6:18 am |
  21. akkison

    To those that complain the USA is not on the list...

    The article is specifically referring to countries on the OTHER side of the planet and more dealing with the Euro-zone debt crises, not in the Western Hemisphere!

    Also, they have a download button to see the FULL report and it shows the ranking for US and Mexico, Canada, and other western Hemisphere countries.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  22. icon library

    This theme is simmply matchless


    September 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

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