Public sector corruption stymies eurozone debt crisis relief

Greece and Italy are perceived as corruption-tainted and this is hampering efforts to tackle the eurozone crisis, a new report suggests.

According to corruption watchdog Transparency International, the two countries at the center of the debt crisis scored poorly on the group’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. On a scale of ten, Greece scored 3.4 and Italy 3.9, ranking 80 and 69, respectively, on the list of 183 countries.

The Corruption Perception Index ranks countries according to their perceived levels of corruption in the public sector.  The 2011 edition drew on data from 17 surveys conducted between December 2009 and September 2011, which assessed factors such as bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement, and anti-corruption efforts.  Countries evaluated in at least three of the surveys were included in the ranking.

“Eurozone countries suffering debt crises, partly because of public authorities’ failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of debt crisis, are among the lowest-scoring EU countries,” the group said in a release.

Greece and Italy both accumulated massive deficits over the last decade that led to rounds of bailouts and austerity measures this year.  The prime ministers in both countries were forced to step down in November amid intense public outrage.

However the European pair fared somewhat better than Somalia, North Korea, Myanmar, and Afghanistan, the countries at the bottom of the list.

New Zealand came in first place with a score of 9.5, followed by Finland and Denmark with scores of 9.4.  Two thirds of the list had scores below 5.0, with new entrant North Korea ranking at the bottom with a score of 1.0.  Other notable rankings within Asia included Singapore in 5th place with a score of 9.2; Hong Kong in 12th with 8.4, and China in 75th, scoring 3.6.

RANK                 COUNTRY                  SCORE

Top 5

1                          New Zealand                   9.5

2 (tie)                   Denmark                         9.4

2 (tie)                   Finland                            9.4

4                          Sweden                           9.3

5                          Singapore                       9.2

Bottom 5

177 (tie)               Sudan                              1.6

177 (tie)               Turkmenistan                  1.6

177(tie)                Uzbekistan                      1.6

180 (tie)               Afghanistan                     1.5

180 (tie)               Myanmar                         1.5

182 (tie)               North Korea                    1.0

182 (tie)               Somalia                           1.0

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