Despite a raft of reforms over the past few months, including a crackdown on tax evasion and on graft in the public sector, Greece is still perceived as the most corrupt state in the 27-member European Union, according to this year’s corruption index published by Transparency International.

The index shows that Greece has fallen seven places to 78th out of the 180 countries surveyed, seven spots below the 71st place it shared last year with Bulgaria and Romania.

The development comes just a few months after the government launched a campaign against corruption.

The president of Transparency’s Athens office, Costas Bakouris, said the government was giving the wrong message by pushing through reforms while offering an amnesty to tax offenders and seeking to legitimise thousands of properties that have been illegally built or extended.

“The solution is to target citizens and businesses that have not fulfilled their obligations to the state and to punish them as an example,” Bakouris said.