The annual index by Berlin-based Transparency International gives countries a score out of 10 on the perceived levels of public sector corruption.
Top of the ranking in 2011 is New Zealand, scoring 9.5 out of a possible 10. Denmark, Finland and Sweden follow.
France keeps the 25th position it held in 2010, with a score of 7. This put it 14th among other European countries.
Other countries to beat France in the ranking include the United States, Chile and Qatar.
According to Transparency International a series of affairs, including the scandal over the drug Mediator and the trial of former head of state Jacques Chirac, did not help the country's ranking.
The organization said they "probably contributed to the tarnished image that international observers continue to have of the French political and administrative class."
Transparency International also said that corruption has worsened the economic difficulties being faced in Europe.
It said the problems were "in part linked to the inability of public authorities to fight corruption and tax evasion which are among the main causes of the crisis."
The worst performing countries in the table were Burma, North Korea and Somalia. Worst performing countries in the European Union were Romania, Greece and Bulgaria.
The same organization released a ranking in November on corrupt business practices which saw France slip from 9th to 11th place.
The Bribe Payers Index asked business executives from 28 countries about the perceived likelihood of their companies paying bribes.
The Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium topped the table for being the least likely to pay bribes with Russia, China and Mexico the worst performers.