An index of global perceptions of corruption indicates a number of eurozone countries suffering debt crises are among the lowest-scoring countries in the European Union, and ranks Bulgaria as the most corrupt EU country.
Berlin-based Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index released Thursday ranks Bulgaria at 3.3, on a scale where zero is the most corrupt and 10 is very clean. Greece is rated 3.4, Italy at 3.9, Hungary at 4.6, and Lithuania at 4.8.
On the other hand, EU countries Denmark and Finland tie for second best on the scale at 9.4, and Sweden is fourth at 9.3 — after top-rated New Zealand with a ranking of 9.5.
Of the 183 ranked countries, the index shows more than two-thirds scored less than 5.0, with other European nations perceived to be much more corrupt. Ukraine ranks 152nd at 2.3. Not much higher in a tie for 143rd are Russia and Belarus at 2.4.
Transparency International says the poor results of the low-scoring eurozone countries reflect in part public authorities’ failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of the debt crisis.
Tied for last in the perceived levels of public sector corruption are North Korea and Somalia at 1.0.