The annual "Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)" report for 2022 has just been made public by Transparency International. It is depressing to see Cyprus fall even more in the rankings.
Since the Index has been published for 11 years and this study was independently generated using standardized criteria, it offers an unbiased evaluation of how the world's countries have fared during that time.
According to the CPI, 180 nations and territories are ranked by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, with scores ranging from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (no corruption or very clean). Cyprus scored 52 in 2022, somewhat over the middle but far lower than the 66 average score for Europe. With 90, Denmark came in first while , Finland and New Zealand came in second with a score of 87. With scores of 79 and 72, Germany came in at 9th place and France at 21st.
Cyprus was placed 31st in 2013. In 2018, it fell to the 38th spot, and by the end of 2022, it had fallen to the 51st spot alongside Greece. Cyprus ranks 22nd overall among European nations, ahead of Malta and the Eastern European nations of Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Nothing to be proud of, especially given that we rank last among the Western European nations we compare ourselves to and aim to conduct business with.
In other words, it continued to fall during the past 10 years, losing an average of 2 spots a year as a result of ever-rising corruption. And if anything, things have become worse. Cyprus fell seven positions during the first five years, but it fell thirteen positions during the subsequent five years. With the exception of Hungary, which fell 30 places, this is the worst result among European nations.
Transparency International notes that corruption erodes public trust and threatens governments' ability to safeguard citizens. According to their advice, "governments must open up space to include the public in decision-making – from activists and business owners to marginalised communities and young people. In democratic societies, the people can raise their voices to help root out corruption and demand a safer world for us all."
The CPI study includes important recommendations. Political leaders must prioritize combating the dangers that corruption brings to peace and security. Governments should prioritize transparency, oversight, and the full, meaningful participation of civil society and should do the following:
Governments should prioritize transparency, oversight, and the full, meaningful participation of civil society and should do the following:
- Reinforce checks and balances and promote separation of powers
- Share information and uphold the right access to it
- Limit private influence by regulating lobbying and promoting open access to decision-making
- Combat transnational forms of corruption
The following two CPI suggestions are particularly relevant to Cyprus:
- Anti-corruption agencies and oversight institutions must have sufficient resources and independence to perform their duties. Governments should strengthen institutional controls to manage the risk of corruption in defence and security.
- Ensure the public receives accessible, timely and meaningful information, including on public spending and resource distribution. There must be rigorous and clear guidelines for withholding sensitive information, including in the defence sector.
The effectiveness of governments is still being harmed even in Europe by "undue influence over decision-making, poor enforcement of integrity safeguards and threats to the rule of law continue to undermine governments’ effectiveness." And in Cyprus, even more so.
Transparency International states that "In this complex environment [created by the global crisis], fighting corruption, promoting transparency and strengthening institutions are critical to avoid further conflict and sustain peace." We can only hope that Cyprus' new president will take these suggestions to heart and reestablish the country's much-needed credibility and integrity.
By fLEXI tEAM