Today, Transparency International released their annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which showed that among others Hungary has slid in score considerably over the five years. Malta, Romania and Bulgaria have all slipped significantly in TI's rankings in the last year.
Benedek Jávor, Greens/EFA transparency and democracy spokesperson in the European Parliament, comments:
"Hungary has significantly decreased its score on the Transparency International Index over the last five years in a damming indictment Viktor Orbán's policies of cronyism and his clamping down on the very institutions which are supposed to keep corruption in check. Our recent report shows that corruption costs every Hungarian €2,044 and the EU as a whole 904 billion euros a year.
"When the European Parliament debates the situation in Hungary tomorrow, MEPs should remember that Orbán uses EU funds to consolidate his power and support government-allied oligarchs, and the worse corruption gets, the harder it is for everyday Hungarian citizens.
"If the European Commission is serious about the fight against corruption, then it must start looking at all elements of corruption in every EU country on an annual basis. We need much better checks and balances on who is the recipient of EU funds and how they are being spent, and the Commission must freeze EU funds that are being lost to corruption. The Commission must listen to the will of the European Parliament, which just called for one billion euros to be allocated to civil society organisation in countries where the rule of law is under threat."
While the Index is a useful snapshot, it only measures the perception of public sector corruption and fails to take into account problems driven by corporate or banking corruption such as money laundering and tax evasion.
The Greens/EFA recently published a report looking at the cost of corruption across the EU, which can be found here: https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/document/the-costs-of-corruption-across-the-european-union/
The European Parliament will tomorrow debate the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary, after 15:30, which can be watched here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/