Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 reveals that political parties, Parliament, the judiciary and the military are the most corrupt institutions in Portugal. Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 29th place out of 180 countries.
The exposure of high-profile corruption cases in the media and the limited political engagement have contributed to poor public perception of political corruption in Portugal. Recurring corruption scandals involving high-level politicians, local administrators and businesses abusing public funds have revealed that safeguards to counter corruption and abuse of power have been relatively inefficient, according to the National Integrity System Assessment 2012 by the Portuguese chapter of Transparency International (TIAC).
Regarding business and corruption, several sources indicate that corruption plays a limited role in Portugal’s business culture. Foreign companies reportedly encounter limited corruption, but they do not consider corruption an obstacle for foreign direct investment. Access to financing and inefficient government bureaucracy are considered the most problematic factors for doing business, according to the surveyed business executives from World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014.
The EU report on corruption, revealed that the Portuguese perceive the a high level of corruption (with 90% answering that corruption is widespread, compared to an EU average of 76%). However, the same report reveals that, when asked if they had actually witness corruption, only 1% responded positively (with an EU average of 5%).