Global anti-corruption agency Transparency International has placed Denmark as the country with the best record in its analysis of the perceived level of corruption in the public sector in a range of countries.
In the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranking, countries are given a score from 0 to 100 with a higher number representing a better ranking. Denmark was given 90, two points better than last year’s total of 88.
“This is hugely pleasing because the points on which we have improved a little are related to some core things such as that people abroad can perceive that when you want to do business in Denmark, you don’t need money out of your pocket for bribes, and that there is a good and healthy business environment in Denmark,” the chairperson of Transparency International Denmark, Jesper Olsen, said in a statement.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is the most widely-used global corruption ranking in the world and measures how corrupt experts and businesspeople perceive each country’s public sector to be, based on a minimum of three data sources drawn from institutions including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
The index ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The results are given on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Scores given to individual countries are based on various sources related to perception in different countries. No Danish responses or perceptions are used to calculate Denmark’s score.
Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg (joint tenth place) complete the top 10 after Denmark.
The UK ranks joint 18th with Belgium and Japan on a score of 73, just ahead of France with 72. The United States is 24th and scores 69 points.
Although Denmark’s score in the index is high and has been so consistently over a number of years, this does not mean there is no corruption in Denmark, Olsen said to national broadcaster DR.
“There is corruption in Denmark. Our index tells us something about how the level of corruption in Denmark is perceived and the experiences people abroad have of doing business with Danish authorities and officials,” he said.
No country has achieved a perfect score on the index – an unlikely outcome, he noted. Nevertheless, Denmark could still improve its score by “recognising there are some areas that need preventative work,” he said.
“Denmark is known to be one of the countries where there isn’t even a strategy for preventing corruption,” he said.
The country is not particularly robust in relation to its politicians, he also said.
“Denmark is one of the countries where, for example, it’s easiest to cover up financial transactions to politicians,” he told DR.