Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world
For the 5th year in a row Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world according to Transparency International's annual Corruption Perception Index. According to the President of Transparency International Denmark this is among other things because the Danish society is built on a high level of trust.
Integrity in politics is key to fighting against corruption and here Denmark takes the lead once again. The higher rank is vastly due to Denmark's high degree of press freedom, access to information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public officials, and independent judicial systems:
No country gets close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.
Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year's index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country's public sector. Top-scoring countries (yellow in the map below) are far outnumbered by orange and red countries where citizens face the tangible impact of corruption on a daily basis.
In many countries of the region, insufficient accountability has generated a perception of quasi-impunity of political elites, and the current wave of populism over Europe seems to enable legalisation of corruption and clientelism, feeding the extreme power of wealthy individuals that steer or own the decision making power.
Corruption scandals have also hit a number of EU countries. Last year in Denmark, the top country on the index, 20 members of the Danish Parliament (11 percent of 179 members) did not declare their outside activities or financial interests in their asset declarations. In the same year, Dutch members of the Police Works Council resigned following an investigation that revealed how a significant amount of the Council’s money was used to pay for expensive dinners, parties and hotels.
This is highly alarming. When core institutions in a democratic society – political parties, parliament, public administration and the judiciary – are systematically implicated with corruption, they cease to be regarded as responsive to people’s needs and problems.
Integrity in politics is key to fighting against corruption. In the Western Balkans, Transparency International’s recent report attributes weaknesses in law enforcement to captured political systems in which politicians wield enormous influence on all walks of public life, while being close to wealthy private businessmen or even organised crime networks.