Report: Estonia has relatively low corruption level

Mug featuring contact info for the Police and Border Guard Board's Corruption Crimes Bureau. (PPA)
11/17/2016 11:31 AM
Source: BNS
Category: News

Transparency International published its fresh report "People and Corruption: Europe and Central Asia" on Wednesday, a part of the Global Corruption Barometer 2016 series which included 42 countries, and according to the results, Estonia is a country with a relatively low level of corruption.

The corruption barometer study was first carried out in 2003, and data has been collected in Estonia as well since 2013, with the results allowing comparisons to corresponding indicators for other countries, Transparency International Estonia said.

The fresh results show that one in three people living in Europe and Central Asia think corruption is one of the biggest problems facing their country; this figure rises to two in three in Moldova, Spain and Kosovo, showing that urgent action against the abuse of power and secret deals is needed.

Nearly a third of citizens across the region believe that their government officials and lawmakers are highly corrupt and a majority of people find that their governments are not doing enough to stop corruption.

53 percent of people in EU member states and EU accession candidate countries alike, as well as 56 percent of people in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members, which consists mainly of formerly Soviet states, found that their governments had failed to curb corruption; the governments of Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain were judge worst by their citizens, at 86, 84, 82 and 80 percent, respectively.

Transparency International spoke to nearly 60,000 citizens in 42 countries in Europe and Central Asia about their experiences with corruption in their daily lives. On average, one in six households paid a bribe when they accessed public services. Although fewer households paid bribes for public services in many EU member states, rates were significantly higher further east; the highest rates were in Tajikistan (50 percent), Moldova (42 percent), Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Ukraine (38 percent), and Russia (34 percent). Romania had the highest rate for an EU member state at 29 percent, followed by Lithuania with 24 percent.

There is also a stigma attached to speaking out, found the report. Particularly in CIS countries, only a quarter of people think that reporting corruption was socially acceptable (27 percent).

Results of the study showed that the level of corruption was low in Estonia — in the past 12 months, just five percent of respondents had paid a bribe. At the same time, 43 percent of Estonian respondents found that some MPs can be considered corrupt and 38 percent said that the Estonian authorities' fight against corruption has been poor or very poor.

"27 percent of respondents could not assess the anti-corruption activities of authorities as they had not heard about the subject enough," CEO of Transparency International Estonia, Anni Jatsa, said. She added that it is ann important signal that the public should feel that the state is dealing with an issue important for the people.

According to Jatsa, only 33 percent of respondents in Estonia considered notifying about corruption acceptable, while in Sweden the same indicator camme in at 70 percent. At the same time, however, people's belief in their ability to affect the situation has increased, as the share of people who think that they can affect the fight against corruption had increased from 39 percent in 2013 to 52 percent, she added.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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