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QUALITY OF LIFE

Denmark rated world’s least corrupt country in index

Denmark has been named the least corrupt country in the world for the fifth time in an annual index – but that does not mean the Nordic country is corruption free, according to a representative from the organisation behind the ranking.

Denmark rated world’s least corrupt country in index
Denmark has retained its spot at the top of a global anti-corruption perceptions list. File photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

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.

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QUALITY OF LIFE

World’s second happiest country: Denmark loses out to Finland again

Denmark is listed at number two on this year’s World Happiness Report, coming second to Finland for the second year in a row.

World’s second happiest country: Denmark loses out to Finland again

The UN’s World Happiness Report, published on Monday, puts Denmark second on its national happiness ranking.

Finland takes the title of world’s happiest nation, once closely associated with Denmark, for the sixth year in a row.

The Danish second place is the same as its 2022 ranking and one spot better than in 2021. Denmark once took first place regularly, but this has not happened since 2016. Denmark was also second behind Finland in 2019.

“Finland is placed significantly ahead of Denmark in second place,” happiness researcher Ragnhild Bang Nes of the University of Oslo told Norwegian news wire NTB.

Low inequality in Finland, as well as Finnish public confidence in the country’s high level of social welfare security, are possible factors, Nes said.

“And the Finns are perhaps a bit more modest and have lower expectations than us, which means overall that they have established themselves at the top of the list,” the Norwegian researcher said.

Denmark’s international reputation for having a happy population endures, however. A museum about the concept of happiness was opened in Copenhagen in 2020.

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The UN’s World Happiness Report is produced each year by researchers in the US using Gallup poll data.

In addition to longstanding criteria, the report also looks at how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected wellbeing in various countries.

The survey ranks 137 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, using measures for factors like generosity, freedom to make life decisions, social support, perceptions of corruption, good governance, social support, health and GDP per capita. The ratings are based on a three-year average.

Nordic and European countries generally dominate the top end of the ranking.

After Finland and Denmark, Iceland (3), Israel (4) and the Netherlands (5) complete the top five, followed by fellow Nordics Sweden (6), Norway (7) and then Switzerland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

Lebanon and Afghanistan are rated as the world’s two least happy countries.

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