Written by 4:33 am European Union

CPI 2022 for Western Europe & EU: Undue influence…

As the region grapples with the deepening cost-of-living crisis and increased risks of civil unrest, people are looking for integrity and effectiveness from politicians. Yet, the public interest was often compromised in 2022, whether by powerful industries or foreign actors.

The EU is reeling from a massive corruption scandal with allegations that current and former members of the European Parliament and their staff took bribes from Qatari officials – along with reports also implicating Morocco – in exchange for influence.

In Germany (79), a state government concealed the ties between its Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation and Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom. The foundation lobbied for the now-suspended Nord Stream 2.0 pipeline and is alleged to have served as Gazprom’s conduit for influencing state officials.

The Uber Files investigations laid bare the influence large corporations wield through undisclosed and privileged access to decision-makers in France (72). Concerns about weak political integrity among top public officials continued with fresh high-profile breaches, highlighting the need for a government ethics officer who could advise ministers on their ethical obligations. The scandal reached EU institutions, implicating the former European Commissioner in secretly lobbying for the tech giant.

Although the Nordic countries continue to take the top spots on the CPI table, Denmark (90), Finland (87), Iceland (74), Norway
(84) and Sweden (83) have stagnated on the index. They are yet to address shortcomings in their political integrity frameworks. Ahead of the general election in Sweden, five political parties tried to evade political party financing rules and take advantage of loopholes to receive funding from anonymous donors.

Switzerland (82) and the Netherlands (80) each dropped two points since 2021, earning their lowest-ever CPI scores this year. Neither have adequate political integrity measures and sufficient lobbying transparency. In Switzerland, rules that allow Swiss parliamentarians to keep paid positions alongside their political activities are of particular concern, while the Netherlands is among the weakest in the region when it comes to lobbying oversight.

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