Thursday, 6 December 2012

Poland's progress towards transparency

Ever since I read about the first Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index back in 1996, I've been tracking the results each year, with a particular interest in how Poland is faring. Each year for the last five or six, I've been collecting Transparency International (TI)'s findings. And it gives me great pleasure to see Poland being ranked as less and less corrupt with each successive survey.

In this year's Corruption Perception Index, Poland is given a score of 58 out of 100, an advance on last year's 5.5 out of 10 (TI has changed to a 100-point scale this year). Poland comes 41st out of 174 countries surveyed - a huge advance on the nadir year of 2005, when it came 70th out of 158 countries. (Click on the graphs below to enlarge.)

To what extent was it the civilising influence of EU membership, and to what extent was it the role of successive Polish governments that led to this systematic improvement? Both. The election of Law and Justice (PiS) in 2007 was a popular reaction against the sleaze of Leszek Miller's administration. But the implementation of EU Directives into Polish law, and the myriad training sessions organised and part-paid for from EU money have also had an effect.

Compare the 16 countries in the graph below, all of them post-communist. Note how those in the EU score dramatically better than ones outside. One outlier, not listed below, is Georgia, with a score of 52, so better than the Czech Republic and three other EU post-communist member states (and Croatia which joins next year). But then there's Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan (ranked equal 170th out of 174 countries). And Russia's 133rd, and Ukraine is 144th.

For Poland, EU membership has been a boon with pretty much upside all the way - EU structural and cohesion funds, Common Agricultural Policy payments to farmers, plus the ongoing civilising process that's driving corruption down with each successive year. A Poland that would have voted to stay out of the EU in 2003 would have been a poorer and less happy place than it is today.

This time five years ago:
A day in Poznań

1 comment:

Alexander said...

And how about the Brussels office / the EU who pretends to be a country ?
So far no accountant has approved the annual report.