Denmark topped a new ranking by anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International, taking the top spot for the second year in a row. Following Denmark were Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland.
The Berlin-based group's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is the most widely used gauge of corruption by governments, police, court systems, political parties and bureaucracies, measuring the perception of corruption in 175 countries.
According to a press release from the group, “high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that don’t differentiate between rich and poor” are the characteristics shared by top performers.
However, no country - not even the top-ranking one – is corruption free, says the report.
Half of all OECD countries are violating their international obligations to crack down on bribery by their companies abroad, according to the campaign group.
Elsewhere in Europe, the group said that only a handful of countries had climbed the rankings, with most places had stagnated and a few demonstrated an increasingly corrupt society, including Spain.
However, both Greece and the UK were found to have “significantly increased” their scores since 2012.
The five bottom-ranking countries in the report include Somalia, Afghanistan and South Sudan. Five of the ten most corrupt countries also rank among the world’s least peaceful places, says the report.