Baltic corruption rating remains mediocre

The Baltic Times
Sep 24, 2008
In cooperation with BNS

VILNIUS – Transparency International has released its Corruption Perception Index and rated the three Baltic states of Estonia,Latvia and Lithuaniain 27th, 52nd and 58th place, respectively.

Estonia earned a score of 6.6 on a scale of 10 in the survey, while Latvia got a score of five and Lithuania earned 4.6. The results mark a slightly better position for Estonia and Latvia, but a sharp drop for Lithuania, which lost 0.2 points from last years survey.

Representatives of Transparency International said that the poor result for Lithuania was due to a lack of “anti-corruption activity.”

“Increasing activity of the Special Investigation Service is the most promising now, however the courts will have their say when investigating corruption cases,” the NGO said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Head of the Lithuanian Transparency International office Rytis Juozapavicius said that a possible way for the country to improve its corruption rating was to alter the way political parties fund their election campaigns.

“Participation in politics should become cheaper – i.e. we should oblige national broadcasters to broadcast political ads for free. Lithuania, however, has made a decision not oriented towards the West, namely by prohibiting broadcasting of political ads,” Juozapavicius said.

“This can result in major corruption – parties need more money for the elections from businesses, and they thus commit to work for them,” the office head said.

Estonia, meanwhile, managed to move its ranking up one place from last year. Anti-corruption organizations, however, say that the country should still work to improve its position.

“Efforts certainly have to be made to rise above the present 15th ranking among European countries,” said Tarmu Tammerk, the leader of the association Corruption-free Estonia.

Latviamanaged to dislodge itself from its position last year as the worst in Europe. The country’s score jumped by 0.2 points to put it ahead of Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Italy and Greece.

The three cleanest countries in the newly-released index are Denmark,New Zealand andSweden, scoring 9.3 each. The most corrupt countries, meanwhile, are Somaliawith one point, Iraqand Myanmarwith 1.3 points each, Haitiwith 1.4 points and Afghanistanwith 1.5 points. Russiadropped to 147th with a score of 2.1.