Sadly, but not unsurprisingly for this Italy resident, Italy is the second most corrupt country in Europe. Only Greece beats Italy in terms of perceived corruption levels according to the 2011 edition of the 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index report.
Why does this not come as a surprise? Well, Italy’s papers seem to contain stories of bribery and corruption on an almost daily basis. Corruption is not only widespread in Italy, it also tends to involve large networks of people.
There is a big corruption investigation in progress as I write this – which caused the chairman of Italian engineering and defence giant Finmeccanica to resign. Finmeccanica, which is part owned by the Italian government, is right in the midst of a what is suspected as being a multi-million Euro corruption scandal.
The corruption cloud which darkens Italy does have a bright side, albeit not a very large one.
Bad, but Not Worse
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index assigns each nation a score out of ten. Nine out of ten is good, under 5 or so, is bad.
The score out of ten assigned to Italy for 2011 by Transparency International is 3.9 which put it in 69th place in a corruption world ranking. Sitting at the same level as Italy are Ghana, Samoa and Macedonia.
Last year, 2010, Italy’s Corruption Perceptions Index score was the same at 3.9, but Italy was ranked 67th in the world.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
Looking on the bright side, although Italy has dropped two places, its score has not changed. This means that even if things are bad, they have not worsened. Small consolation, I know.
Corruption Levels in other Countries
Greece, incidentally, sits at 80th place with a score of 3.4. In the 2010 table, Greece was in 78th place with a score of 3.5, so corruption levels in Greece have worsened, if only very slightly. Spain, with a score of 6.2, is in the 31st position.
For comparison purposes, France is in 25th place with a score of 7.0. The UK scored 7.8 and is in 16th position. Germany, with a score of 8.0, is in 14th place.
Right at the top of the 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index table is New Zealand with a score of 9.5 and it is followed by Demark with a score of 9.4.
More Work for Monti
Italy’s new Prime Minister Mario Monti will be aware of yet another of Italy’s many problems and, hopefully, if he can find the time, he’ll look into doing more to resolve this major issue. He has already made bribery a little more difficult by limiting cash payments to €1000 – this change, although in force now, could be voted out by Italy’s parliament. Oddly enough, it seems to be members of Berlusconi’s PDL party who more often than not seem to be under investigation for corruption. We can expect Berlusconi’s party to block any measures which make bribes more difficult to collect, one suspects.
Foreign businesses may well be put off from investing in Italy in view of the nation’s nasty little corruption “overhead”.
Italian Premier Monti may well have noted that countries like Greece, Spain and Italy have been causing the Euro area major headaches. Could it be that there is come correlation between corruption and badly run nations? What do you think?