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Serbia fell below the hundredth place in the world list of Transparency International's Index of Corruption Perceptions

Serbia, with an Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of 36 fell by five places on the list - to the 101st position in the most significant global ranking of countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector – CPI 2022.

In the previous two years, Serbia had a corruption perception index (CPI) of 38 and was in 94th and 96th place, respectively, on the international organisation Transparency International list. This year's score is also the worst in the last 11 years since the same evaluation methodology has been applied, the Executive Director of Transparency Serbia (TS) Bojana Medenica announced at today's press conference.

Serbia's 2022 index is seven points bellow the world average. Of the countries in the region, only Bosnia and Herzegovina perform worse, with an index of 34, and Albania shares the 101st position with Serbia.

After ten years of stagnation, this decline was expected in a situation of open violation of numerous anti-corruption preventive laws.

After years of stagnation, the deterioration in the perception of corruption indirectly indicates that the problem is not only in perceptions per se but that there is no substantial progress. The increasing number of studies based on which the CPI Index has been calculated shows that the impression of external observers on the development of the situation regarding corruption and the possibility for institutions to deal with it is negative. This drastically reduces the likelihood that it is only about subjective impressions or a reaction to individual disputed situations, said Nenadić.


Details about the Corruption Perceptions Index and the results


For the 27th year in a row, the Corruption Perceptions Index has been compiled by the leading anti-corruption organisation at the global level, Transparency International. This year, 180 countries and territories were ranked, the same as in several previous years. Countries are scored on a scale of 100 (very clean) to 0 (very corrupt). This year, Serbia is ranked at 101st place (96 last year), with a score of 36, which is two points lower than the previous year. Serbia shares this place with eight other countries (Albania, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Panama, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey).

The 2022 rating is the worst in the last 11 years since the current methodology and scale from 0 - 100 has been applied. For the fourth year in a row, Serbia is in the "worst half of the world". The current place in the table is the worst in the entire period when the number of ranked countries equals the current one (since CPI 2007).

Although the changes in Serbia's score from year to year have been minimal for more than a decade, it is evident that the trend is negative, so the drop compared to the 2013 and 2016 records now amounts to a significant six points. The current result of 36, as well as all the time since the CPI has been published, Serbia is "stable" in the group of countries with widespread corruption (below 50). This score places Serbia seven points below the world average (43), 21 points below the average of Europe, and even 28 points behind the average of the part of Europe it wants to become a part of (EU – 64).

Denmark (90) climbed to first place this year, followed by Finland, New Zealand (87) and Norway with 84 points. At the bottom, as last year, are Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Among the former socialist countries of Europe, as last year, Estonia has the best place with a score of 74; among non-EU members, it is Georgia (56). Within the former SFRY, Slovenia is still the best with 56, although declining. In our immediate neighbourhood, Croatia (50), Romania (46), Montenegro (45), Bulgaria (43), Hungary (42), and North Macedonia (40) have better results than Serbia on the CPI. Serbia shares the same place as Albania, while only Bosnia and Herzegovina (34) is now ranked somewhat worse. Kosovo, for which special research is being done, scored 41 in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index.

When calculating the CPI, 13 relevant surveys that measure the perception of corruption in the public sector are considered. These surveys represent the opinion or impression of those who do business with Government and public officials about their corruptive activities or advise business people, governments and international institutions about such activities. Research must be performed within the last 24 months, and there must be at least three such data sources for a country/territory to be ranked.

This year, Serbia was included in eight relevant studies, which guarantees the findings' high degree of reliability. Comparability of data with those from earlier years is at an even higher level - even ten years ago, the same seven sources of information are used for the CPI, and in the last five years, identical eight.

The project findings used for Serbia in the latest CPI came from Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, Bertelsmann Foundation, World Economic Forum, Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, International Country Risk Guide, World Justice Project Rule of Law Index and Varieties of Democracy Project.

Of the research relevant to Serbia, in three cases, the data was collected in 2022, in other three during 2021, in one case in both years, while one research, completed in 2021, was conducted over a more extended period. In four original surveys for CPI 2022, the score is the same as in CPI 2021; in the other four, the score worsened, and in no case was it better than a year ago.

The scores, according to individual surveys, range from 34 to 38. The standard deviation is 1.33.

Transparency International's statement regarding the 2022 Report indicates that 95% of countries have made little or no progress in the ranking in the last five years. TI also suggests that there are clear links between violence and corruption. "Governments of countries suffering from corruption do not have enough capacity to protect citizens, and at the same time, in such countries, there is a greater possibility that public discontent will spill over into violence."

The announcement also points to the countries that have regressed the most in the last five years (including Luxembourg, Canada, Great Britain, Austria, Malaysia, Pakistan, Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti). The most significant progress had Ireland and South Korea, as well as a number of countries whose results are still poor (Armenia, Vietnam, Maldives, Moldova, Angola, Uzbekistan).

Transparency International also, in its analysis of the connection between the problems of corruption, conflict and security, looks at the situation in Russia, South Sudan, Brazil and Yemen, as well as the risks of corruption related to confidential procurement in the defence sector.

Complete research results can be downloaded from the TS website:



Results CPI 2022 and Serbia

The first factor contributing to this assessment and this state of affairs is the insufficient importance given to the fight against corruption. The national strategy for the fight against corruption has not existed for four years, and work on a new one has not even begun. Unlike the previous ones, the new Government of Serbia does not have the fight against corruption defined as a priority in its plan (there are only some statistical data from the previous period in the expose). The main document of anti-corruption policies is still the Action Plan for Chapter 23 negotiations with the EU, where reports on what has been done exist. Still, the question of responsibility for omissions is never raised, nor are the actual effects of the implementation of the plan considered. Also, there are insufficient legal guarantees to the public of the work of judicial councils, and their members enjoy too much constitutionally guaranteed immunity for their decisions, which creates risks of corruption.

Open disregard for the rules for the fight against corruption continued, which is most visible in the ​​professionalisation of the management of public enterprises and in the state administration. The Government no longer tries to create even a semblance of legality but instead appoints acting officials retroactively, more times than the law allows, or lets acting officials do the job without any legal basis.

The budget and other public resources are not protected. Priorities financed by more expensive borrowing are determined without a predetermined and adopted plan. At the same time, the citizens who will repay those debts have no opportunity to influence the determination of priorities. Also, the warnings of the relevant state authorities (Fiscal Council) are rejected without argument. In many cases, including the reports of the Anti-Corruption Council, documented cases of harmful and often illegal decisions related to the disposal of public funds remain unexamined (e.g. the sale of spa resorts). Direct agreements, instead of tenders, are the most dominant form of contracting for the most valuable works.

Although many whistleblowers have received legal protection, there is no systematic monitoring of what happens following their reports. Not only do public prosecutors' offices and other state bodies not act proactively enough, but those suspicions of corruption that are well documented and brought to the public remain unexamined.

Not only is the process of making many important decisions in Serbia non-transparent, but decisions are often made outside the institutions responsible. In this sense, it is particularly noticeable that the President of Serbia makes many decisions from the competence of the Government and other bodies. This can be concluded both from his statements and from the statements of nominally responsible officials who do not miss the opportunity to refer to the authority of the leader of the ruling party. The reasons for the content of the decisions, the interests in making them and the assessment of their impact remain unknown. One such example is the decisions regarding the exploitation of lithium and other ores, both during the previous negotiations, the withdrawal from a year ago, and the increasingly frequent new announcements of such jobs. In the fifth year of implementation of the Law on Lobbying, the influence on decision-making has not become any more visible than before its adoption.

Non-transparency is significantly supported by: non-compliance with requests for access to information and the decisions of the Commissioner, completely ineffective legal protection that is achieved only before the Administrative Court when information is requested from the Government of Serbia, as well as the practice of state authorities not publishing much information in advance, even when they are obliged to do so.

European integrations have not been appropriately used to fight corruption, and the key objections are repeated in every report of the European Commission. Earlier recommendations of other international organisations (ODIHR, GRECO) were also not fully implemented, and there is no sign of anything being done, according to their reports published this year.

Key recommendations of TS in the field of political corruption:


  • Establishment of safe channels for reporting irregularities in connection with the misuse of public resources, use of public office and election procedure and their promotion by state authorities;
  • Legal limitation of the possibility of conducting an "official campaign", that is, apparently regular activities of public officials undertaken for political promotion and establishment of functional independent supervision;
  • Limiting the expenses of the election campaign, specifying the duties of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption in the control of reports on campaign expenses, ensuring greater public disclosure of data while the election campaign lasts;
  • Improving the rules on financing the referendum campaign, based on the experiences from 2021/2022;
  • Ensuring more significant public influence on the adoption of regulations and individual decisions, whether it is registered lobbying, unregistered lobbying or informal forms of communication, which the law does not regulate lobbying;


Key recommendations of TS regarding the planning of the fight against corruption:


  • Determining the reasons for not achieving the goals from the National Strategy for the Fight against Corruption 2013-2018;
  • Adoption of a new Strategy that will be comprehensive (and not only dedicated to selected areas) and that will also contain measures to ensure responsibility in case of non-fulfilment; in this regard, it is particularly important to determine the ineffectiveness of the concept of "Operational Plans" for the prevention of corruption in areas of special risk;
  • Establishing an efficient system for monitoring the implementation of the revised Action Plan for Chapter 23 EU integration and eliminating the observed problems;

Key recommendations of the TS regarding the prosecution and punishment of corruption:


  • Investigating all cases of suspected corruption in connection with which documents were disclosed or direct accusations were made, without waiting for the public prosecutor to file a criminal complaint and publishing information about the outcome of the investigation, including the explanation in case it was determined that there was no criminal responsibility;
  • Ensuring all conditions for prosecuting corruption using special investigative techniques, for conducting financial investigations alongside criminal ones and for proactivity in investigating corruption;
  • Amendments to the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Law on the Organization and Competence of State Bodies in Suppression of Organized Crime, Terrorism and Corruption for more effective prosecution of certain forms of corruption;
  • Improvement and comprehensive supervision of the implementation of the Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers;
  • Development of a control plan based on the Law on Investigating the Origin of Property and a Special Tax, which will prioritise persons who had the opportunity to abuse public office and authority and publish data on the application to reduce suspicions of arbitrariness;

Key recommendations of TS regarding the prevention of corruption and public work:


  • The Government of Serbia should ensure the execution of the Commissioner's decision and start regularly acting on the received requests;
  • It is necessary to provide effective legal protection in cases where information is withheld by the Government and six other bodies against which it is not possible to appeal to the Commissioner;
  • The provisions of other laws must not reduce the right to access information, and the exercise of that right should be extended to information in possession of currently uncovered subjects (e.g. joint ventures within a public-private partnership);
  • Authorities should publish all information in an open format, and state control authorities should cross-check data from these databases when determining their work plans and conducting supervision;
  • The obligation to prepare and publish explanations for decisions should be introduced where it does not currently exist (e.g. certain conclusions of the Government);
  • The National Assembly should apply the provisions of the Code of Ethics in cases where MPs do not explain their actions to the public.

Key recommendations of TS regarding public finances


  • Providing complete information regarding the transformation of public companies, the impact of unprofessional management on public finances and the possible role of external consultants in future management;
  • Conducting supervision over the planning, implementation and execution of public procurement in a large number of cases;
  • Ensuring full transparency in public-private partnerships;
  • Termination of the practice of concluding interstate agreements based on which transparency and competition can be excluded in connection with the conclusion of contracts on public procurement, public-private partnerships and the sale of public assets;
  • Cessation of the practice of procurement based on special laws passed for infrastructure projects;
  • Increasing the publicity of data on allocations from the budget reserve;
  • Providing full explanations for projects financed by borrowing, as well as financial support measures;
  • Enabling citizens to influence budget priorities at the national level;
  • Publication of data on budget execution during the year in a way that allows budget users and programs to monitor the process.