Transparency International on July 2, 2015 released a report studying corruption in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. According to the report, corruption remains endemic in the five countries, and an overall lack of progress fighting corruption in these countries is hampering democratic progress and undermining the prospect of greater economic and political cooperation with the EU.
The report singled out Azerbaijan for “intimidation, harassment, persecution and detainment of civic activists and journalists.”
According to the Transparency International study, corruption is “widely perceived to be endemic and deeply institutionalized” in Azerbaijan. It permeates all spheres of public life, “with entrenched political patronage networks and widespread conflicts of interest closely connected to the political elite.”
Azerbaijan ranks 126 out of the 174 countries assessed in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2014. With a score of 29, the country is perceived as highly corrupt.
More than half of the respondents (58%) believe that corruption in the public sector is a problem or a serious problem in Azerbaijan. Health services and the judiciary are perceived to be the sectors most affected by corruption.
Transparency International called on the five countries to implement urgent judicial reforms, strengthen external oversight of the government, and support a free and vibrant civil society sector, among other recommendations. The report also emphasized that the onus to tackle corruption is not only on the five countries but the EU to “ensure partner countries uphold their commitment to fight corruption.”