Corruption has become part of the system, not a side effect of it, according to Transparency International’s announcement. It also reveals that 20 per cent of EU-funded public procurement money went to Lőrincz Mészáros’s companies.
Transparency International has revealed its Corruption Perception Index 2019, reported hvg. Hungary is tied with Romania for the second most corrupted nation, while Bulgaria takes first place.
From the 180 countries examined globally, Hungary is ranked at number 70. The country got 44 points out of 100 – in which 100 means a perfectly corruption-free country –, while in 2018, it got 46 points, meaning the situation worsened in the past year. However, since 2012, Hungary has dropped back not only two but 24 places.
József Péter Martin, the managing director of TI Hungary, said while presenting the report that corruption has become a central element in the past decade. The state takes fortunes by certain groups through the law or purchases and gives it to other groups.
“The money of taxpayers is turned into private wealth through public money pumps by violating the rule of law,” the report states.
On a positive note, the report also says that the autonomy of the courts remains intact, and at least it cannot be said that the prosecution allows the perpetrators of cases that may be sensitive for the government go free.
However, despite the prosecution doing its job in some cases, inaction ensures impunity for those involved in the most sensitive scandals of the government.
TI names three cases, for instance: those involved in the Elios-case avoided being investigated, offshore companies that won around 60 billion forints from settlement government bonds were never investigated, and the Hungarian National Bank distributed 267 billion forints of the state to private foundations without any legal consequences.
The use of EU money in Hungary carries systemic corruption risks. Not only are these risks not eliminated by public institutions, but they are often the ones creating opportunities to be taken advantage of. The state has spent an average of 6.5 per cent of its GDP on public procurement in recent years, with an average of half of it being partly or it being wholly funded by EU money.
Another problem is that there is only one offer in a very large number of public procurements: 42 per cent of the tenders have no competition at all. This does not mean corruption, but it does involve a great risk for it.
There are also some positive sides to it. The courts are still autonomous, the economy is successfully whitened by the government, and police bribes are less frequent than before.
The Corruption Perception Index 2019 map can be viewed HERE.