Switzerland has dropped two places in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015, falling from fifth to seventh. Scandinavian countries remain at the top.
This slight drop was probably due to corruption cases which had tainted the public sector, the Berlin-based organisation said on Wednesday.
Martin Hilti, director of Transparency International Switzerland, said Switzerland still made a good impression internationally but that didn’t mean it was free of corruption.
He said the country needed to improve in certain areas, such as international corruption cases, the protection of whistle-blowers, the campaign financing of political parties, the fact that it was still too easy to bring illegal assets into Switzerland.
The indexexternal link is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption, looking at a range of factors such as whether governmental leaders are held to account or go unpunished for corruption, the perceived prevalence of bribery and whether public institutions respond to citizens’ needs.
Public-sector corruption was still a major problem around the world but more countries were improving than worsening, the index concluded.
Denmark remained at the top, while North Korea and Somalia remained at the bottom. The other top spots were occupied by Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway.
The United States rose one spot this year to 16th, tying with Austria. Britain rose three spots to tenth, tying with Germany and Luxembourg.
Despite so many European countries in the top ten, Transparency International said there was still a lot of room for improvement in Europe and Central Asia, which it grouped as one region.
“In low-scorers Hungary, Poland and Turkey, politicians and their cronies are increasingly hijacking state institutions to shore up power,” it said.
“It’s even grimmer further down the index. In Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and others, governments are restricting, if not totally stifling, civil society and free media.”
Russia sat in 119th place, tied with Azerbaijan, Guyana and Sierra Leone, although it had improved from 136th place the previous year.
Brazil, in the midst of a massive corruption scandal at the state-owned oil company Petrobras, posted the biggest decline, dropping seven positions to 76th place.
“Corruption remains a blight around the world,” said Transparency head Jose Ugaz. “But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it’s time to tackle grand corruption.”
swissinfo.ch and agencies