26 September 2007, Wednesday
Sofia News Agency
Nine months after its entry into the European Union, Bulgaria fails to be a testament to the beneficial impact of accession on corruption combat, a Transparency International index shows.
Bulgaria, which joined the European Union together with Romania on January 1, 2007, is still ahead of its larger northern neighbour, even though the latter has tangibly improved its corruption score in comparison with last year.
Bulgaria ranks 64 in the index, which is based on perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. It scores 4.1 in a range between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt), down by seven spots from last year when it scored 4.0.
Bulgaria has been jointly ranked with Croatia and Turkey and comes ahead of Romania, which records a better progress in tackling corruption, moving from spot 84 last year up to 69, scoring 3.7.
Poland comes a spot ahead of Bulgaria, scoring 4.2.
Denmark joined Finland and New Zealand at the head of the table, which was compiled by the Berlin-based watchdog.
Forty per cent of the countries where corruption is perceived as rampant were classified by the World Bank as low income countries, Transparency International said.
Scores were significantly higher in several African countries in the 2007 index, with Namibia, South African and Swaziland making progress in the fight against corruption.
Gainers were also concentrated in Eastern Europe, with improvements in the Czech Republic and Romania pointed as testament to the impact of the European Union accession process on corruption.