Global anti-corruption agency Transparency International has ranked Italy among the worst in Europe once again in its annual analysis of the perceived level of corruption in the public sector by country.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries worldwide from 0 to 100 with a higher number representing a better ranking.
Italy was given 56 points, the same as last year and still one of the lowest scores in Europe along with Georgia and Slovenia, which also scored 56.
This score puts Italy 41st out of 180 countries and well behind neighbouring France in 21st place, while Spain was ranked 35th.
Ranked worst among all European Union member states was Hungary, in 77th place with a score of 42.
Denmark held the desirable position of world’s least corrupt country, followed by Finland, New Zealand, Norway and Singapore.
Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland completed the top 10.
More than two-thirds of countries (68 per cent) scored below 50 and the average global score remained unchanged at 43.
Though Italy has long been perceived as one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, the annual study has shown slight improvements in the country’s score over the past decade – until this year.
“All in all, the CPI shows that corruption levels have stagnated or worsened in 86 per cent of countries over the last decade,” said Transparency International.
With an average score of 66 out of 100, Western Europe and the EU still tops the CPI but progress in recent years has plateaued, the report stated.
Countries with well-protected civil liberties generally score higher on the CPI, while countries which violate civil liberties tend to score lower, Transparency International writes.
But even at the top end of the index, countries are failing to improve their records on public sector corruption, according to the report.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is the most widely-used global corruption ranking in the world and measures how corrupt experts and businesspeople perceive each country’s public sector to be, based on a minimum of three data sources drawn from institutions including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
It does not relate to corruption in the private sector, including money laundering and tax fraud.