Corruption Perceptions Index: How corrupt is Germany?

Corruption Perceptions Index: How corrupt is Germany?

Corruption Perceptions Index: How corrupt is Germany?

An annual survey has revealed how corrupt Germany seems to be to experts. On a scale where a higher ranking corresponds to low levels of perceived corruption, Germany ranks ninth out of 180 countries.

CPI: Ranking corruption around the world

Put together by Transparency International, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is an annual ranking of how corrupt countries are perceived to be by experts. The index uses data from 13 different sources from 12 different institutions, including the Bertelsmann Foundation and the World Economic Forum, to give each country a value between zero and 100. The higher a country’s score, the lower the perceived corruption.

Out of 180 countries, Germany ranks ninth with a score of 80 points, placing it above the likes of the UK (77 points), France (69 points), the US (67 points) and Spain (62 points). Denmark and New Zealand topped the ranking with 88 points each and the Netherlands ranked just one place higher with a score of 82 points. On the other end of the scale, Somalia and South Sudan scored the worst, with a total of 12 points each.

Germany needs to be more transparent

The head of Transparency Germany, Hartmut Bäumer, has called for more clarity around the issue of political party financing. He said, that despite Germany’s relatively good performance, “we need better rules for party financing and lobbying.” Bäumer criticised illegal party donations, fragmented campaign donations and non-transparent sponsoring. Transparency Germany suggested that political parties, parliamentary groups and foundations should disclose their finances in an official financial report.

The organisation also demanded that party sponsoring should be treated as donations, that donations should be capped and recorded regardless of the amount, and that party financial reports should be published promptly. “It is incomprehensible why donations of 10.000 euros or more only appear in the accounts of the parties - and, if they remain below 50.000 euros, only one and a half years later," said Bäumer.

To combat this, Transparency Germany recommended that the threshold for publishing financial donations should be lowered to 2.000 euros and that donations should be capped at 50.000 euros per donor, year and party.

Criticisms of the Index

The Index has garnered some criticism from experts who point out that the perception of corruption does not match up with the real crime. Ruth Linssen, a professor of Sociology and Law at the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, sees the CPI as a good tool for publicising the issue of corruption but criticises it for suggesting a level of accuracy that is not there. In particular, one’s perception of corruption can be influenced, for example, by the media covering a corruption scandal.

There are no reliable figures that can gauge how corrupt a country is. Identifying corruption can be particularly difficult, as there are no direct victims. Those who accept a bribe are committing just as much of a crime as those who offer the bribe and so corruption often goes unreported to the police.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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