Budapest, January 25 (MTI) – Hungary has fallen seven places to 57th on Transparency International’s (TI) corruption index, TI Hungary’s managing director Péter József Martin said on Wednesday, presenting the organisation’s 2016 report.
He said Hungary’s performance last year, with 48 points, was its weakest in the past six years and it had “declined conspicuously” within the European Union and the region.
Martin said the majority of countries had taken retrograde steps in combatting corruption. Of the 176 countries surveyed by TI, 121 scored fewer than 50 points on the scale in which zero is “very corrupt” and 100 is “very clean”.
Countries perceived to be the least corrupt include Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden and Norway, whereas the most corrupt are Somalia, South Sudan, North Korea, Syria and Yemen.
Taking the rest of the Visegrad Group countries, Slovakia was in 54th place with a score of 51, the Czech Republic was ranked 47 with a score of 55 and Poland was in 29th place with a score of 62.
Commenting on the report, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said it was “interesting” that TI had not made similar comments about Hungary under the Gyurcsány-Bajnai governments before 2010 when “European Union funds were being embezzled” and economic growth was declining. Despite there having been multiple signs under the leftist governments indicating that there had been “fundamental problems” with the use of public funds, TI had not issued these kinds of criticisms towards Hungary at the time, Kovacs said.
But over the past several years, a new tendency has taken root in Hungary, as the current government is responsible in its use of public money and thanks to its disciplined spending, the country has successfully emerged from the excessive deficit procedure the EU had launched against it, he insisted. The long-term growth path Hungary is on has allowed the government to increase spending, and with it, launch career models and raise wages, Kovács said.
“At the very least, it is strange to accuse Hungary now, under the Orban government, of having a problem with corruption,” he said.
The government spokesman said there were no EU economic indicators about Hungary that gave greater cause for concern about corruption in the country.
Kovács also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to fighting corruption.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons