According to the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International on Wednesday, Cyprus ranks 49 out of 180 countries, showing a concerning trend towards higher corruption levels.

The index offers an annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries and territories from all over the globe.

The CPI, examining perceived levels of corruption in the public sector on a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), awarded Cyprus with a score of 53 points in 2023, slightly up from 52 in 2022 but returning to the levels of 2021.

This marks the lowest point since 2012, indicating a consistent deterioration rather than improvement, with sporadic and minor fluctuations in 2017-18.

Traditionally high-faring countries in the CPI, like Sweden, which scored 82, the Netherlands (79), Iceland (72), and the United Kingdom (71) recorded their lowest scores in the annual index since 2012.

Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand secured the top positions as the least corrupt countries.

According to the regional coordinator for Western Europe at Transparency International Flora Cresswell, the decline in the regional index for Western Europe and the EU indicates a need for European governments to take more serious measures against corruption and uphold the rule of law.

Countries like Hungary (42), Romania (46), and Bulgaria (45) ranked lowest in the region, with only six out of 31 countries showing significant improvement in their scores since 2012, including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Italy, and Ireland.

According to the latest Greco (Group of States against Corruption) report, published on January 9, Cyprus has satisfactorily dealt with nine of the 16 recommendations on tackling corruption.

The report said Cyprus has implemented satisfactorily or dealt with in a satisfactory manner nine of the 16 recommendations. One has not been implemented, which concerns the independence of prosecutors.

The attorney-general’s office said a bill on that matter is before parliament.

Greco however noted that “the draft would benefit from additional refinement to ensure that individual law officers/prosecutors are able to conduct their duties in a more autonomous way, guided by the safeguards necessary under the rule of law.”

It called Cyprus’ authorities “to deal with the planned reform of the Law Office of the Republic without delay.”