Greece dropped 3 spots from 56th to 59th in the 2023 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2023, according to a report published by Transparency International.

As the report notes, Greece is facing “a rule of law crisis following the fallout from the government’s alleged illegal wiretapping of journalists and opposition politicians”, attacks on press freedom, and weak judicial independence, all of which have contributed to the sharpest decline in the rule of law in the EU.

One of the most unflattering highlights for the country, according to the report, is that it has the EU’s worst performance in the World Press Freedom Index. The use of SLAPPs to silence journalists is commonplace, hindering the media’s ability to report on corruption cases. This is confounded by a concentration of private media ownership with close ties to the political elite.

The analysis continues by focusing on mounting concerns regarding government overreach in the ‘Predatorgate’ spyware scandal, with reports of members of the independent watchdog investigating the case being threatened and witnesses being blocked.

In terms of the government’s actions to improve transparency, the report says Greece made a promising move by establishing the National Transparency Authority in 2019, a move, however, that is nullified by the fact that governing appointments are selected by the government. The position of governor has been vacant for more than one and a half years, whilst members of the Governing Council recently resigned amidst scandal allegations.

To halt the decline, the government needs to guarantee the protection and safety of journalists, strengthen legislative regulations on lobbying and political party finance, and maintain an independent anti-corruption authority, the report points out.

Greece (scored 49) is among other EU member-states, including Sweden (82), Spain (60), Poland (54), Croatia (50), Malta (51), Lithuania (61) and Ireland (77), for which the EU has highlighted issues in the appointment of judges and the overall quality of the justice system.

Meanwhile, Cyprus is on the list of the countries with a “significant decline”, as it fell by 10 spots dropping to 53rd since 2014.

The index scores countries on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (clean) with the average score just 43 out of 100.