Portugal ranked 31st out of 175 countries in 2014 in terms of perception of corruption in the public sector, according to the latest annual index of Transparency International, a non-governmental organisation that campaigns against the phenomenon.
The showing was a slight improvement on 2013, when Portugal was ranked 33rd. This year, it secured 63 points out of 100.
“This rise of two places has, unfortunately, little significance,” said João Paulo Batalha, the executive director of TIAC, the Portuguese associate of the international organisation. “As far as its score goes, Portugal improved one point, restoring the result it had in 2012.”
This, he said, shows that Portugal has achieved “the limit of what we can manage to improve without our adopting a coherent and continued strategy to combat corruption in Portugal.”
Referring to Operation Labyrinth, the investigation into abuses in the granting of ‘golden visas’ to foreign investors, in which several senior civil servants have been detained, and Operation Marquês, in which a former prime minister, José Sócrates is among the detainees, Batalha said that these latest scandals “clearly reveal [Portugal’s] fragility” and “may have a very negative impact on [its] international reputation” that could be reflecting in its 2015 ranking.
“We have a year to prove that our country is committed to combatting corruption, giving the justice system the means necessary to act and creating mechanisms of public integrity that assure a cleaner economy and a fairer society, where we all have the opportunity to work, invest and create wealth without resorting to schemes,” he said.
Portugal is ranked 17th among European countries, with Denmark the best placed. Overall, it and New Zealand are the countries in which perceptions of corruption are at their lowest, while North Korea and Somalia come bottom.
In compiling the ranking, Transparency International used data from independent institutions specialised in analyses of governance and the business environment.
JOP/ARO // ARO.
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