Sigmalive — The extent of corruption in Greece has not increased “but is only now being uncovered,” the General Secretariat for Combating Corruption said in an announcement on Tuesday.
The Secretariat also commented on Transparency International’s annual report for 2016, where Greece scored a 44 on the Corruption Perception Index.
The Secretariat said that the report “refers to a subjective and scientifically controversial measurement of perception of corruption and not the real level of corruption.”
In 2016 Greece ranked in 69th place of the 176 countries included in the Transparency International report, the same position the country was in 2014, while in 2015 Greece had managed to climb to 58th place.
According to the Secretariat, the recent revelations of major past scandals had a negative impact on the country’s score, since it highlighted the existence of corrupt systems that had previously existed in the shadows. The vice president of Transparency International in Greece said the country has a problem with “petty corruption” as Greeks are forced to find alternative ways to deal with red tape.
“In indicative clue to the reliability of the corruption perception index is that our country historically had its best scores in the years 1996 (50), 1997 (53.5) and 2000 (49) even though we are all now aware what the real level of corruption and abuse of public money was,” the announcement said.
The Greek agency stressed that the index measured the perception of corruption and that it factored in scandals of the past that were only recently uncovered. “Corruption did not increase, as some representatives of interests would have you believe. The corruption [of the past] is being uncovered now,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday, stressing the government’s determination to continue fighting corruption.
While it may be true that perceived corruption levels have not increased, an alternative explanation for the increase in 2016 could be that Greeks lived under the spell of hope that the new government had brought in 2015 with promises to fight corruption and bureaucracy.
So it could be that it is not so much that corruption has not increased in 2016 but rather that corruption had not decreased in 2015.
Perceived corruption returned to its previous equilibrium level when people’s confidence in the government’s ability to implement its pre election commitments to root out corruption and bureaucracy started to decline.
According to the index, Denmark was the least corrupt country with 90 points. Somalia was last with 10 points.