Estonia climbs three places on corruption perception scoreboard ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonia ranks 23rd worldwide, three places higher than last year, in the 21st edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International on Wednesday.

Estonia is tied in place 23 with France, Chile and United Arab Emirate in the table ranking 168 countries of the world. Its point score, 70, is one point higher than last year when it placed 26th. In 2013 Estonia placed 28th with a point score of 68.

Denmark once again ranked first in the index with 92 points, while Finland and Sweden followed. The bottom three is made up of Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan.

Of Estonia's Baltic neighbors, Lithuania is in place 32 with 61 points and Latvia in place 40 with 55 points.

According to Transparency International Estonia, the result for Estonia has improved a bit but the change is too small to indicate that the situation has improved. "Estonia is standing still and unfortunately there are no signs of moving toward Northern Europe which is less stained from corruption," said Erkka Jaakkola, head of the board of Transparency International Estonia.

According to Jaakkola, the numerous corruption cases from the past year show that we have more corruption than the Estonian public has so far thought. "Conclusions have been drawn from these cases and steps show what next year's results for Estonia will be," Jaakkola said.

Among the 31 West European countries and EU member states covered by the survey Estonia shares the 14th place with France. The average score of these countries is 67 or three points lower than Estonia's score.

According to Transparency International Estonia, the efficiency of Estonian investigative institutions has improved and that enables to detect more corruption cases.

In the world in general the state of corruption is not great as 68 percent of countries worldwide have a serious corruption problem. Half of the G20 countries are among them, results of the study show.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. Countries' scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don't respond to citizens' need.

Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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