Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Corruption: reasons to be cheerful

Last week's Economist ran a full-page story in the front of its Europe section about corruption in central and eastern Europe (From Bolshevism to backhanders). I read the story three times, the third time very carefully, to make extra sure I'd not missed anything.

Latvia: "...political attempts to nobble the [anti-corruption agency]." Czech Republic: "corruption scandal rocking the government". Bulgaria: "brazen attempt to rig a nuclear-power tender." Romania and Slovakia: "attempts to reform the judiciary have stalled". Lithuania: "scant critical scrutiny of the activities of its agriculture ministry." Russia: "companies willing to pay bribes; the curse of easy money from oil and gas." Ex-communist Europe: "[A] rising tide of sleaze."

Yet one country from the region conspicuously missing from this rather depressing article is Poland. Every year since 2005, the nadir of Polish corruption, the country has done better and better in Transparency International's global Corruption Perception Index ranking (below).

While Poland may not be as squeaky-clean as Scandinavian countries, it's moving in the right direction.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012: Transparency International's latest Corruption Perception Index shows the trend continuing, with Poland's score improving yet again (to 5.5).

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