TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has slightly worsened its ranking on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index – from 51st to 55th place.

In 2012, Georgia ranked 51st among 176 countries, but in 2013 it is in 55th place among 177 countries.

The organization ranks countries according to degree of corruption, awarding points from zero – the most corrupted – to 100 points – the least corrupted. TI listed 177 countries and granted 49 points to Georgia, which had 52 points in 2012.

However, Georgia ranks higher than several European countries. The Czech Republic and Croatia are both in 57th place, while Slovakia is in 61st place. Italy and Romania share 69th place, while Bulgaria is on 77th place, Greece – 80th.

In the region, Turkey has the highest score and is in 53rd place. Armenia is in 94th place, while Russia and Azerbaijan share 127th place.

The top countries with the lowest score are Denmark, New Zealand and Finland, while Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are in the last places.

According to TI’s new report, the new Georgian government has advanced anti-corruption reforms in some areas, including through expanding the scope of public officials’ asset declarations and by publishing directly awarded government contracts, including all small purchases.

“The government has also, although carefully, pursued reforms to pro-actively release more public data online and has improved the responsiveness to Freedom of Information requests,” the report says.

TI recommends strengthening the Prosecutor’s Office, the State Audit Office, the Competition Agency, and independent regulatory bodies.

The watchdog group also calls for creating an independent anti-corruption agency tasked with prevention, investigation, and public education, strengthen anti-corruption mechanisms and policies of local government bodies, as these entities may be given more autonomy and resources through planned reforms.

Read more: http://transparency.ge/en/post/corruption-perception-index-cpi-2013