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CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2021: LATVIA’S SCORE IMPROVES, ALBEIT TOO SLOWLY

The international anti-corruption organisation Transparency International (TI) has published the annual results of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for the year 2021. Latvia’s score has increased by 2 points compared to 2020, rising to 59 (out of 100). Although this increase can be seen as a step in the right direction, Latvia’s CPI results have long lagged behind those of other European Union and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Moreover, this increase does not inspire confidence that the target of 64 points in 2024 and 67 points in 2027, as set in the National Development Plan 2021-2027 (NDP), will be achieved. Transparency International Latvia (Delna) points out that in order to improve Latvia’s performance in the Index, the responsible institutions need to act decisively and stop delaying decisions and improvements in areas such as preventing waste of public resources and the promotion of political and business integrity, while the private sector must also step up its role in the fight against corruption.

The 2021 CPI results show that Latvia’s score, which now stands at 59, has improved by two points since last year. Nevertheless, it must be taken into account that this score still lags behind other EU and OECD countries. According to the 2021 results, the EU countries’ average CPI score is 64, placing Latvia 15th out of 27 countries (17th in 2020). By contrast, the OECD average CPI score is 67, ranking Latvia 26th out of 37 countries (28th in 2020). Latvia is ranked 36th in the world (42nd in 2020), along with Israel and the Caribbean Island group of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

Source: Transparency International Latvia

TI LV (Delna) wants to draw attention to the fact that Latvia’s recent performance in the CPI needs to be viewed in the context of much longer changes. Since 2012, Latvia’s CPI score has increased by 10 points, illustrating a positive long-term trend. While Estonia has also seen a 10-point increase since 2012, it is important to note that Estonia’s score was initially 15 points higher. Meanwhile Lithuania’s score has increased at a slower pace (+7 points). Thus, the trajectory taken by Latvia is generally promising, although the pace of change is not sufficient to place it among the top contenders in this race and not conducive to achieving its own set targets (i.e., according to the NDP, to reaching 64 points in 2024 and 67 points in 2027, which are comparable to the EU and OECD averages in 2021).

Inese Tauriņa, Executive Director of Delna, explains: “The analysis of the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that Latvia’s weaknesses lie in political and private sector integrity, as well as in preventing waste of public funds and in distrust regarding the fair use of public funds, including EU funding. But we should not forget other areas, such as the prosecution and adjudication of corruption cases, where improvements are still needed. We already highlighted this as a critical area last year in our analysis of the 2020 Index results, and we can already see that Latvia has made a number of improvements, the impact of which on the CPI is likely to be seen in the coming years. It should also be borne in mind that the Corruption Perceptions Index score is one of the first indicators that foreign investors look at before starting their business in a country. Improving this indicator is therefore a long-term effort, involving not only formal improvements on paper, but also the ability to implement these changes in practice.”

 

Recommendations from Delna

Based on our analysis and taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the political and social processes in the country as well as on the work of the government, Delna recommends that decision-makers and responsible authorities should strengthen their work on the unfinished tasks and launch new initiatives in 2022:

  • An assessment of the conflict of interest management system and risks should be carried out, gaps in governance should be addressed, and a system that is up-to-date and based on GRECO recommendations should be established.
  • A comprehensive transparency regulation covering interest representation (lobbying) should be adopted, which will further promote transparency and fairness in public decision-making.
  • Different options should be explored to improve the process of adopting the national budget in order to prevent systematic breaches of legislation and to promote responsible use and management of public funds, including EU funding.
  • The Saeima (Latvian Parliament) should consider the ManaBalss.lv initiative “For a public audit of the Saeima budget” and provide the State Audit Office with the authority to audit the Saeima budget.
  • Integrity in business should be promoted by encouraging businesses to be more proactive in their efforts to prevent and detect corruption and to disclose and make public company data and information relating to anti-corruption and their anti-corruption systems.

 

Further sources of information

 

About the Corruption Perceptions Index

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is published annually by the international anti-corruption organisation Transparency International (TI) and it remains the most widely used indicator of the level of public sector corruption worldwide. Delna is the Latvian chapter of the international anti-corruption organisation TI.

The CPI analyses private sector perceptions of corruption in the public sector in 180 countries and territories using 13 different sources of analysis, including democracy and public administration-related analysis, drawn from business surveys and expert assessments. The CPI uses a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 indicates that a country has a high level of corruption and 100 indicates that a country has no corruption. A score below 50 generally indicates that there are serious corruption problems in the public sector.

To obtain the Latvian CPI score, TI used ten sources from nine different institutions. The CPI score does not take into account the overall indicators that appear in these sources, surveys and expert opinions, but only specific issues related to corruption at different levels and in different areas.

 

Contacts for Delna

  • Inese Tauriņa, Executive Director, inese.taurina@delna.lv, +371 67285585
  • Agnija Birule, Advocacy and Project Manager, agnija.birule@delna.lv
  • Olafs Grigus, Project Manager and Researcher, olafs.grigus@delna.lv

 

The preparation of this press release has been funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Programme “Active Citizens Fund”.

 

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