Estonia 21st least corrupt country in the world

According to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, Estonia is the 21st least corrupt country in the world.

Estonia has improved its rank by one spot compared with the 2016 index, having this year scored 71 point out of a hundred (compared with 70 points last year).

Transparency International gives every country in the index a score of 0-100, where 100 means “very clean”. No country in the world, however, gets the perfect score. The least corrupt country in the world is New Zealand with the score of 89, followed by Denmark (88) and Finland (85).

Finland in trouble

Finland, however well it is ranked is, according to Transparency, “one of the most worrying cases in Western Europe”.

“Traditionally viewed as the bastion of good governance and one of the top performers on the index, this year Finland’s score dropped by four points from 89 in 2016 to 85 in 2017,” the organisation said of Estonia’s northern neighbour. “This could be attributed to indistinct borders between public and private interests, where some people holding public office are not always maintaining a proper culture of recusing themselves from decisions that may affect them.”

“With no regulations placed on financial disclosures or conflicts of interest for the head of state, this too may have a significant impact. An unwillingness of the Finish prime minister to respond to journalists’ inquiries about assets and investments caused a crisis situation and seriously damaged relations between the media and the government.”

Countries are moving too slowly

The 2017 index ranks 180 countries in the world. The most corrupt countries in the world are Somalia (scored 9), South Sudan (12) and Syria (14).

Transparency also said that this year’s index reveals some disturbing information – “despite attempts to combat corruption around the world, the majority of countries are moving too slowly in their efforts”.

When we take a look at Estonia’s neighbours, then Lithuania is ranked 38th (scored 59) and Latvia is ranked 39th (58). Russia can be found in the “highly corrupt” column with the score of 29, which ranks it 135th.

Transparency International is an international non-governmental organisation, based in Berlin, Germany. Its non-profit purpose is to combat corruption and prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.


Cover: The global map of Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at