Transparency International

Luxembourg drops in global corruption ranking

Luxembourg dropped in a global corruption ranking from 9th to 10th place with a score of 77, down from 81 the previous year. Photo: Shutterstock

Luxembourg dropped in a global corruption ranking from 9th to 10th place with a score of 77, down from 81 the previous year. Photo: Shutterstock

In a global assessment published on Tuesday, Luxembourg placed in the top 10 least corrupt countries worldwide despite its overall score dropping compared to the year before.

Denmark ranked first in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2022, with a score of 90 out of 100 points. Finland and New Zealand shared second place (87 points), followed by Norway (84) and Singapore and Sweden in joint fifth place (83).

Switzerland (82), the Netherlands (80) and Germany (79) follow, with Ireland and Luxembourg in joint 10th place with a score of 77.

Denmark and Ireland were the only countries to improve their score from last year’s edition of the ranking. Luxembourg’s score dropped from 81 in 2021, when it ranked ninth overall.

“This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index reveals that 124 countries have stagnant corruption levels,” Transparency International said in its report. “The number of countries in decline is increasing.”

The organisation said corruption is both a cause and result of the deterioration of global peace. “Political instability, increased pressure on resources and weakened oversight bodies create opportunities for crimes, such as bribery and embezzlement.”

Two-thirds of the 180 countries assessed by Transparency International have a score below 50, with the average score at 43 on a scale of very clean (100) to highly corrupt (0). Western Europe and the European Union scored an average of 66 points. Hungary scored the lowest in the region at 42.

“Significant” drop in Luxembourg score

The scores are compiled from at least three data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments, for example collected by the World Bank or the World Economic Forum.

A closer look at the 2022 results showed that Transparency International recognised Luxembourg’s drop in the score as statistically significant. However, the organisation did not provide a country file explaining the score, and there were no further details in a regional report for Europe.

Delano has contacted Transparency International for additional information.

The organisation generally said that many of the countries at the top of the ranking serve as hubs for dirty money, adding that restricted access to beneficial owner registers across the EU--following a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union--had made it significantly harder to track down illicit funds. 

The grand duchy immediately blocked access although it has since been restored for journalists in the country. 

Luxembourg last year passed changes to the constitution to strengthen the separation of powers and enshrine the independence of the judiciary. It implemented a lobby register for members of government, although the European Commission said the country should do more to regulate the departure of senior civil servants into the private sector.

Journalists and NGOs have long demanded freedom of information laws, which Luxembourg lacks. Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) during a speech in January promised progress on the issue soon.

Sharing information and upholding the right to access it is once of Transparency International’s recommendation to the governments of all countries assessed in the index. Other recommendations include reinforcing checks and balances and promoting the separation of powers, limiting private influence by regulating lobbying and promoting open access to decision-making, and combatting transnational forms of corruption.

Luxembourg achieved its highest score in the ranking in 2015 at 85 points. The 2022 result is the first time the grand duchy has scored below 80.