Denmark named as least corrupt country in the world

by Ray Clancy on January 29, 2016

Would you want to live in a corrupt country?, it is a question that is perhaps not one that comes immediately to mind when deciding to move abroad, but looking into it reveals some interesting issues.

If you want to live and work in the least corrupt countries in the world then Northern Europe and New Zealand are the best options, according to the latest annual Corruption Perceptions index from xx.

The index, which covers perceptions of public sector corruption in 168 countries, puts Denmark in top place, followed by Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway.


Denmark flag

Denmark took the top spot for the second year running, with press freedom, access to budget information so the public knows where money is coming from and how it is being spent, high levels of integrity in public life and a free judiciary named as the top characteristics.

North Korea and Somalia, the worst performers, are countries not just suffering from war and conflict, but characterised by weak public institutions such as the police and justice system and a lack of independence in the media.

But some countries, many of them popular with expats have moved down the index in recent years, most notably Australia, Spain, Turkey and Brazil. The big improvers include Greece, Senegal and the UK.

The index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. Countries scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens needs.

Brazil, once the darling of new emerging economies, has been rocked by the Petrobras scandal in which politicians are reported to have taken kickbacks in exchange for awarding public contracts. As the economy crunches, tens of thousands of ordinary Brazilians have lost their jobs already. They didnít make the decisions that led to the scandal. But they’re the ones living with the consequences, the report says.

But even the top countries have their problems. The report gives as an example third placed Sweden where the firm TeliaSonera, which is 37% owned by the Swedish state, is facing allegations that it paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure business in Uzbekistan, which comes in at 153rd in the index.

Indeed, the report points out that half of all OECD countries are violating their international obligations to crack down on bribery by their companies abroad.

“Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough,” said JosÈ Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.

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