Europe and Central Asia: An overall stagnation

Europe and Central Asia: An overall stagnation

Regional analysis by Conny Abel, Svetlana Savitskaya and Valentina Rigamonti of Transparency International

There are no drastic changes in Europe and Central Asia in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, with only a few exceptions. However, this does not mean that the region is immune from corruption. The stagnation does not indicate that the fight against corruption has improved, but quite the opposite.

High-profile scandals associated with corruption, misuse of public funds or unethical behaviour by politicians in recent years has contributed to public discontent and mistrust of the political system.

Ukraine shows a minor improvement by 2 points on this year’s index. This can be attributed to the launch of the e-declaration system that allows Ukrainians to see the assets of politicians and senior civil servants, including those of the president. However, cases of Grand Corruption against former president Yanukovych and his cronies are currently stalled due to systemic problems in the judicial system.

In many countries of the region, insufficient accountability has generated a perception of quasi-impunity of political elites, and the current wave of populism over Europe seems to enable legalisation of corruption and clientelism, feeding the extreme power of wealthy individuals that steer or own the decision making power.

Corruption scandals have also hit a number of EU countries. Last year in Denmark, the top country on the index, 20 members of the Danish Parliament (11 percent of 179 members) did not declare their outside activities or financial interests in their asset declarations. In the same year, Dutch members of the Police Works Council resigned following an investigation that revealed how a significant amount of the Council’s money was used to pay for expensive dinners, parties and hotels.

This is highly alarming. When core institutions in a democratic society – political parties, parliament, public administration and the judiciary – are systematically implicated with corruption, they cease to be regarded as responsive to people’s needs and problems.

Integrity in politics is key to fighting against corruption. In the Western Balkans, Transparency International’s recent report attributes weaknesses in law enforcement to captured political systems in which politicians wield enormous influence on all walks of public life, while being close to wealthy private businessmen or even organised crime networks.

Capture of political decision-making is one of the most pervasive and widespread forms of political corruption in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, where a culture of impunity prevails among politicians, prosecutors and oligarchs. In many CIS, EU accession and Eastern European countries, it is common to have MPs or local governors who are also business owners, without being questioned by the public, which perceives this as something normal. Companies, networks and individuals unduly influence laws and institutions to shape policies, the legal environment and the wider economy to their own interests.

In this case having a comprehensive legal framework is not enough. What is required is effective implementation of anti-corruption provisions.

In countries where political decision-making is not captured, it is very important that governments assess risks in everyday decision making and administrative procedures, identifying possible gaps in order to act preventively, improve controls and to regain the trust and confidence of their citizens.

Image: Creative Commons / Flickr / Sasha Maksymenko

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Antoine Deltour: LuxLeaks whistleblower’s long legal battle continues

On Thursday 23 November, the High Court of Luxembourg will announce its verdict in the case of Antoine Deltour, the whistleblower who revealed aggressive tax avoidance schemes in Luxembourg by sharing the 'LuxLeaks' documents with journalists in 2014.

Open letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Ramon Esono Ebalé must be released

It has been two months since the artist and satirist Ramon Esono Ebalé was detained without charge in Equatorial Guinea. Transparency International joined with 17 organisations and individuals to write to President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. We are calling for his immediate release.

Global Corruption Barometer: citizens’ voices from around the world

Transparency International believes that people’s experience and perceptions of corruption are key for understanding corruption risks around the world. Our Global Corruption Barometer is the world's largest survey asking citizens about their direct personal experience of corruption in their daily lives - check it out here!

How the Honduran military and police profit from the illegal arms trade

An investigation by InSight Crime and Transparency International Honduras has found that many of the guns used in homicides in Honduras come from Honduran military and police stockpiles.

#ParadisePapers: time to clean up the offshore financial havens

The ‘Paradise Papers’ show how the rich and powerful around the world are able to avoid paying tax and keep their business dealings secret. The mechanisms they use can also benefit the corrupt, and must be made more transparent.

Uzbekistan: How to support the real victims of grand corruption

What do you do when assets stolen from a country’s state coffers by corrupt individuals have been recovered and can now be returned to the country - but the government is still controlled by corrupt people? That’s the case of Uzbekistan, one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Entrevista con testigo clave en el Caso Obiang: Delfin Mocache Massoko

En el 27 de octubre 2017, la justicia francesa ha condenado a Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, vicepresidente de Guinea Ecuatorial, a tres años de cárcel extentos de cumplimiento, una multa de 30 millones de euros (US$35 millones) y confiscó todos sus activos en Francia. Antes de que se anunciara el veredicto, entrevistamos a Delfin Mocache Massoko, un testigo clave en el caso, para descubrir qué significa el juicio para él y los ciudadanos de Guinea Ecuatorial.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world