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Estonia could become the world country with lowest corruption level -- EU commissioner


TALLINN, Jan 23, BNS - Vice-President of the European Commission Siim Kallas said Estonia could set itself the aim of climbing to the top of the corruption perception index in the world and in the European Union.

Kallas said at a conference on the media and corruption organized by the Estonian Newspaper Association in Tallinn on Friday that it was not such a mad idea as it might look.

Kallas said that Estonia needed something positive in order to stand out, the preconditions for working in the name of that aim existed and besides the budgetary revenues were not of a size worth mentioning.

"Quite a few times the issue has been discussed in various groups what Estonia's positive initiative in the European Union could be. We do not only have abuse of Russia by which we can stand out internationally," he said.

Kallas stated that there was no corruptive culture in Estonia. He said that the summary of the European Union's corruption study, which refers to "a possible corruption free culture, Estonia's advantage in its fight against corruption ahead of several Central and East European countries," allowed making such a statement.

Kallas pointed out that Estonia was ranked 27th in the corruption perception index of Transparency International. Of Estonia's neighbors, Finland is No 5 and Sweden No 1. Russia, one of the most corrupt countries, ranks 147th and also Latvia with its 52nd ranking is not in a very good position.

"We stand in the point of collision, intersection and influence of different business cultures. There are 12 countries of the European Union, including Slovenia, ahead of us and 14 countries coming behind us," Kallas said.

He said that comparing the situation in EU member countries within the limits of his competence, he dared to see Estonia not in the worst light.

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