According to the Transparency International report, Portugal is now 'well below the average figures for Western Europe and the European Union, set at 66 points' in an index that continues to be led by Denmark and New Zealand.

Since 2012, Portugal has recorded minimal annual variations and Transparency International's survey shows 'that the countries least equipped to deal with crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, are precisely those with the lowest scores'.

"In the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the results of the 2020 Corruption Perception Index reveal the impact of corruption on health and social protection systems, democratic processes and respect for human rights", analyses the Transparency and Integrity Association (TI-PT), the Portuguese subsidiary of the international organisation.

For the president of IT-PT, Susana Coroado, although the country has risen in the ranking, "over the last 10 years little or nothing has been done to combat corruption in Portugal, and the results are an expression of that drift".

In the opinion of Transparency International's president, Delia Ferreira Rubio, "Covid-19 is not just an economic and health crisis. It is a crisis of corruption", which has put governments to the test.

"And it is a crisis that we are failing to manage," she said.

The pandemic, she notes, "has put governments to the test like never before and countries with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet this challenge. But even those at the top of the Index must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption at home and abroad".

The NGO Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index is a tool that measures corruption in the world by analysing the levels of corruption in the public sector of 180 countries, scoring them from 0 (very corrupt) to 100 (very transparent).

Denmark and New Zealand remain at the top of the 2020 table with 88 points, followed by Finland and Singapore with 85. The lowest positions this year are Syria with 14 points and Somalia and South Sudan both with 12 points.