Cyprus has slipped further in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) compiled by Transparency International, a development which a local NGO called concerning.
In 2021, the island ranked 52 among 180 countries, falling from 42nd spot in 2020 (lower is better).
In addition to rankings, countries also receive a score on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean.
Cyprus’ 2021 score was 53, dropping from 57 in 2020.
In 2019, Cyprus ranked 41, with a score of 58.
According to Transparency International, the CPI “is the most widely-used global corruption ranking in the world. It measures how corrupt each country’s public sector is perceived to be, according to experts and businesspeople.”
The CPI measures perceptions of corruption in the public sector, covering issues such as: bribery; officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences; excessive red tape which may increase opportunities for corruption; nepotistic appointments in the civil service; laws ensuring public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest; legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption; and state capture by narrow vested interests.
The countries perceived as the ‘cleanest’ in 2021 were Denmark, New Zealand and Finland. The most corrupt were Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela.
On Tuesday, the Cyprus Integrity Forum NGO said the results of the CPI “have a substantial impact on our country, since they are taken seriously into consideration by foreign investors who study the CPI and avoid countries whose ranking is worse compared to the previous year.
“Recent research also indicates that tourists, too, study the index and avoid countries where corruption is at high levels.”
The NGO added that over the past few months small steps have been taken to implement some of the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body (Greco), and also with the passage of the law affording protection to whistleblowers.
“However this will have absolutely no effect on the CPI unless major improvements are undertaken, which would lend us credibility with our various partners. If we therefore wish to increase the inflow of foreign investment as well as other sectors in our country, even tourism, our culture needs to change immediately.”