Not only Transparency International’s (TI) new report is stunning for Hungary. In fact, hvg.hu compared reports on corruption from the last 15 years. According to them, corruption became systematic in Hungary.
Corruption spreads in Hungary uncontrollable
Never was Hungary more corrupt than in 2017
– states the latest report of TI. Among the 180 countries examined Hungary obtained the 66th place. This is the worst position since 1995 when such measures began. Hungary’s position in the EU is tragic in this regard: only in Bulgaria is corruption more problematic.
According to József Péter Martin, managing director of TI,
“in Hungary the form of centralized corruption developed and became systematic”
Hvg.hu compared the 2017 report with the reports published before. According to them, since the Fidesz gained power in 2010 only a few corrupt oligarchs were called to account. Moreover, those institutions that could control the government were impaired so
public money could lavishly flow into the hands favourite oligarchs of the government.
According to TI, governments in Central-Europe tried to restrain corruption before their countries joined the EU. However, since then they let it loose. For example, in case of Hungary the agreement was signed in 2002 and the country fell back 7 places in 2003.
Where did the fallback start?
In fact, one of the most memorable promises of PM Orbán’s before 2010 was that they will call to account those who were corrupt during the previous governments. “Market is impatient and expects efficient measures from the government as soon as possible” – stated TI in its 2010 report. However, they wrote in 2011 that instead of coherent anti-corruption measures only some sort of political impeachment happened.
One of the most important notions from the years before is ‘state capture.’ This means that Fidesz with the help of its supermajority
either occupied or impaired those institutions that guaranteed checks and balances in Hungary.
Moreover, as we reported, people became disinterested in corruption issues. In 2013 70% said that they would not report it to the authorities because it is pointless.
Further steps: giving EU-money to friends
In case of public procurements risk of corruption is especially high – wrote TI already in its 2010 report. The situation worsened since then. For example, there is only one applicant in half of the tenders. Moreover, in case of the other half there is no announcement, at all. Thus, tenders can be given to oligarchs close to the government.
In truth, one of the most important features of the corruption in Hungary is
how public money becomes private.
This happens with the help of different bills accepted by the government parties. Thus, government close oligarchs can win most of the public procurements. For example, in 2013 and 2014 Lajos Simicska and his Közgép won more than 170 billion forints (EUR 5.4 billion). However, the
new favourite, Lőrinc Mészáros won just in 2017 more than 476 billion forints (EUR 1.515 billion).
We wrote about his “fabulous” enrichment which is quicker than Facebook-founder Zuckerberg’s HERE. Furthermore, we wrote about the Elios-scandal HERE which concerns the PM’s son-in-law. It burst out after the publication of the 2017 OLAF-report.
According to TI’s report, these are
not individual cases anymore but a systematic corruption scheme.
TI’s report mentions two additional issues. Firstly, corporate sponsorship for sports by which 450 billion forints (EUR 1.43M) landed in the hands of those clubs that have good political relationships. Secondly, they mention the residency bond scheme, of which we wrote HERE. In the latter case 60 billion (EUR 191M) forints of public money flew away uncontrolled.
According to the government TI is financed by George Soros. Thus, it attacks Hungary and Bulgaria because they built fences on the border to hinder illegal migration.