The Corruption Perception Index (CPI), published by global movement Transparency International, places the alpine country fifth this year, behind Denmark and New Zealand in joint first place and Finland and Sweden in third and fourth place respectively.
Although Switzerland leapfrogs the Netherlands and Norway to take fifth place, two places higher than last year, its score – 86 out of 100 – remains the same for the third year in a row.
Leaders Denmark and New Zealand were both given a score of 90 on the 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) scale.
The CPI is the most widely used gauge of corruption by governments, police, court systems, political parties and bureaucracies, measuring the perception of corruption in 176 countries.
In its analysis this year Transparency International warned that no nation in the world is doing enough to fight corruption.
Over two-thirds of the 176 countries in the ranking scored below 50 in this year’s report, with the global average being a paltry 43, it said.
There were no drastic changes in Europe, it said, with a few exceptions.
“However, this does not mean that the region is immune from corruption. The stagnation does not indicate that the fight against corruption has improved, but quite the opposite,” Transparency International wrote.
Even top-ranked Denmark was hit by a corruption scandal last year, when 20 members of the Danish parliament did not declare their outside activities or financial interests.
Switzerland’s reputation took a battering in 2015 when a corruption scandal hit Zurich-based Fifa, world football’s governing body, and its then-president, Sepp Blatter. Numerous Fifa officials were indicted by the US for bribery and money laundering.
In a statement on Tuesday, Martin Hilti, director of the Swiss branch of Transparency International, said: “The enviable place that Switzerland regularly occupies on the CPI is good news, but that doesn’t mean that its public sector is free from corruption.
“Corruption cases are constantly breaking out, above all in public procurement. And these cases are only the tip of the iceberg, because the percentage of cases that aren’t exposed is without doubt very high”.
The results also highlight the connection between corruption and inequality, which feed off each other and create a vicious circle, said the global body.
“The interplay of corruption and inequality also feeds populism. When traditional politicians fail to tackle corruption, people grow cynical. Increasingly, people are turning to populist leaders who promise to break the cycle of corruption and privilege. Yet this is likely to exacerbate – rather than resolve – the tensions that fed the populist surge in the first place,” it said.
For the tenth year in a row, Somalia was at the very bottom of the CPI, with a score of 10. The full ranking can be seen here: