Estonia rises on Transparency International's corruption index

Estonia rose to 13th place on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2021, meaning it is one of the least corrupt countries on the list.

Estonia's position rose from 17th place to 13th and received a score of 74/100, which is one point fewer than last year. In total, 180 countries are ranked on the list.

The average score for the Western Europe and European Union region was 66/100.

Estonia was highlighted as the most improved country over the past decade. It has gained 10 points since 2012 and "continues to take positive steps forward through a comprehensive anti-corruption plan for 2021-2025".

It has introduced new guidelines on lobbying, revolving doors and conflicts of interest, the organization said.

But Transparency International also said Estonia is not free of corruption: "The country is not free of those taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis, as seen in the high-level corruption allegations that brought down the government exactly a year ago or the healthcare workers placed under investigation for selling vaccination certificates."

Latvia has also risen 10 places since 2012, and this year was awarded a score of 59/100.

In general, across Europe and the EU, there was not much cause for celebration.

The organization said the region is stagnating or even backsliding: "A worrying new normal is fast being established, as accountability and transparency measures neglected or rolled back during the COVID-19 pandemic remain unrestored, and public trust falls in the wake of procurement scandals."

It also said EU member states "continue to drag their feet on implementing EU anti-money laundering legislation, and on closing the loopholes that still remain in this important new law".

Rankings: Summary

The highest-ranking countries were Denmark and Finland, both scoring 88, followed by Norway and Sweden, both on 85.

Bulgaria (42), Hungary (43) and Romania (45) were the worst-performing countries in the region.

Slovenia scored a historic low of 57 and has been flagged as a "country to watch" by the organization. Austria is also "losing ground".

Countries that have seen their scores decline most of the last decade are Cyprus, Hungary and Poland, which dropped by 13, 12 and 7 respectively.

Estonia's Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania scored 59 and 61, putting them in 36th and 34th places. Both improved on their scores from 2020.

The report can be read here.

Read the article at ERR.