Demonstrators celebrate the withdrawal of President Otto Perez Molina's immunity from prosecution, Guatemala City, Sep. 1, 2015 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

Transparency International released its 2015 rankings on perceptions of corruption today, revealing that public-sector graft remains pervasive around the world. But the report also cited progress that offers some reasons for optimism. The index’s scores draw on expert analysis of citizen perceptions of government accountability and responsiveness, as well as the presence of bribery or embezzlement in public institutions. The U.S. and U.K. improved their scores, and familiar countries—including New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada, as well as those in Scandinavia—filled the top spots. But many usual suspects from Europe to Latin America scored dismally. Corruption has become an increasingly powerful […]

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Beijing, China, Nov. 26, 2015 (AP/Pool photo by Kim Kyung-hoon).

Twenty-five years after the fall of communism and almost 10 years after gaining membership in the European Union, Bulgaria is plagued by widespread corruption, misappropriation of public funds and vote-rigging in nearly every election. Many Bulgarians say their country’s democracy is in shambles. The past several years were marked by widespread protests and a banking crisis that forced former Socialist Party Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski to resign in 2014 after little more than a year in office. Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest country, is now on its fifth government since 2013. But despite changes in leadership, voters continue to express their […]

A Slovenian policeman attempts to control migrants as they wait to enter Austria, Sentilj, Slovenia, Oct. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Darko Bandic).

In a scene from a compelling documentary called “Dreaming of Denmark,” two teenagers sit on a snowy European slope, chatting in Danish. When one of them, Mussa, describes himself as Danish, the other, his Afghan friend named Wasi, reminds him he’s Ethiopian. “Oh, yeah,” Mussa says, giggling. He had just obtained his Danish passport, after three years of living in a shelter for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Denmark, and was clearly well on his way to building a life in his new homeland. The scene was filmed in 2014, but couldn’t be more relevant today. The question on the minds […]

Slovak President Andrej Kiska with an Afghan refugee, Bratislava, Slovakia, Sept. 17, 2015 (CTK via AP Images).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the European refugee crisis and European Union member states’ approaches to addressing it. Last month, Slovakia filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice against the European Union’s plan to redistribute 120,000 refugees across all 28 member states. In an email interview, Katarina Lezova, a visiting research fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, discussed Slovakia’s response to the refugee crisis. WPR: How affected has Slovakia been by the refugee crisis in Europe? Katarina Lezova: Slovakia has not been greatly affected by the crisis, especially in comparison to […]

Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Presidential Palace after signing controversial legislation that regulates the constitutional court, Warsaw, Dec. 28, 2015 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

Has Poland gone from European poster child to enfant terrible in one year? The new conservative government’s moves to stack the constitutional court and tighten its control of the media have worried Poland’s allies in the European Union and the United States and brought tens of thousands of Poles onto the streets to protest. Some have even warned of a serious threat to Poland’s democracy, two and a half decades after communism fell. In response, the recently elected government of the Law and Justice party, known in Polish as the PiS, points to its democratic mandate and the unconstitutional behavior […]

Journalists protest the jailing of opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara representative Erdem Gul, Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 27, 2015 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

This week on the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss China’s infrastructure schemes in Southeast Asia, Poland’s right-wing government and presidents-for-life in Rwanda and Burundi. In the Report, Nate Schenkkan explains the Turkish government’s long war against the media and freedom of expression. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles from WPR: China’s Grand Plans in Southeast Asia on Track With Thai Rail Deal Constitutional Crisis Veers Poland Into Uncharted Territory U.S. Offers Mild Rebuke of Kagame’s Bid to Hold Onto Power in Rwanda African Union Intervention Could Do More Harm Than Good […]

Anti-corruption protesters at a rally in front of parliament, Kiev, Ukraine, Dec. 23, 2015 (AP photo by Efrem Lukatsky.

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the impact of corruption and various countries’ efforts to combat it. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is facing growing calls to root out corruption, but must ensure any reform on that front does not lead to government instability. In an email interview, Anna Derevyanko, the executive director of the European Business Association in Kiev, discussed Ukraine’s fight against corruption. WPR: How widespread is corruption in Ukraine, and what impact does it have on governance, business and the daily life of Ukrainians? Anna Derevyanko: Ukraine is the most corrupt country […]