Dec. 3 - Denmark and New Zealand have the lowest levels of state sector graft, according to a new survey. But as Hayley Platt reports the position of two struggling euro zone economies was the biggest surprise - Spain has fallen ten places on the Transparency International corruption index while Greece has improved its ranking.
A new law to clamp down on protests was the last big cause for concern in Madrid. But demonstrations against austerity have been widespread and frequent. The country's economic woes have provoked most of them. But it seems corruption is also a worry. Spain has fallen ten places to 40 on a global corruption index. The watchdog, Transparency International said it lost points for a spate of scandals involving the ruling centre-right party and the royal family. Edda Mueller is head of research. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL GERMANY, EDDA MUELLER, SAYING: "They will try to bring through the legislative process a new law on transparency. So maybe there is a clear reaction now in Spain that the problems have been recognised and so they are working now on improving the situation". More than two-thirds of the 177 countries surveyed in 2013 scored below 50. Denmark, New Zealand and Finland were ranked among the top three. At the bottom, perceived as the most corrupt, were Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan. Greece was the biggest surprise moving up the chart 14 places. It's been working hard to fix its problems and it seems to be paying off. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL GERMANY, EDDA MUELLER, SAYING: "We are very happy that Greece has improved in this year's perception report. The reason for that is that Greece has appointed a co-ordinator against corruption and also decided on a national anti-corruption programme so that the surveys show a clear impact of the public opinion." Greece still remains the European State with the highest perceived level of corruption. But it is trying to clean up its act. The Greek President is currently in South Korea trying to drum up business. Back home the government are doing its best to convince its lenders it deserves the next tranche of bailout aid.