Hungary is perceived as having the worst public sector corruption record in the EU, according to Transparency International’s latest report.
With scores ranging from 42 to 46 out of 100, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania lagged far behind the EU’s Scandinavian top three, with Denmark crowned as best in class (90), followed by Finland (87) and Sweden (83), in the anti-corruption NGO’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions index.
In Central Europe, Hungary ranked 77th (42) On Hungary, the report says, “evidence is mounting against political elites on their misuse of both state and EU funds”, citing recent EU decisions to suspend or condition the country’s access to EU funds with reforms.
“The success of this belated but promising conditionality mechanism depends on the EU’s willingness to compel Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government to introduce meaningful reforms so that rule of law can be reinstated,” the report said.
Russia has one of the lowest results in Eastern Europe with a score of 28, and its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February is a “stark reminder of the threat that corruption and the absence of government accountability pose for global peace and security,” according to a press release published with the report.
Ukraine’s score is only slightly higher (33), but the country has been “undertaking important reforms and steadily improving” since the start of the war.
But the conflict did not end corruption in the country, as shown by the recent scandal that forced Ukraine’s deputy defense minister to resign — showing that “the country’s anti-corruption mechanisms are thus far holding public officials accountable,” the report said.
The index uses survey data based on interviews with experts and businesspeople from various sources (including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum) to rank 180 countries around the world according to their perceived level of corruption, on a scale from 0 — which means highly corrupt — to 100.
Its definition of “corruption” focuses on specific examples involving public officials, from bribery to diversion of public funds, as well as governments’ ability to contain corruption in the public sector.
Council of Europe notes improvement in corruption fight in Romania