Hungarians feel powerless to do anything about mounting corruption, TI report shows

November 17, 2016


According to nationwide surveys performed by Transparency International (TI) Hungary, more than half of those surveyed believe that the average person cannot do anything about corruption in government, reports The data, taken from TI’s Global Corruption Barometer, was compiled from interviews with 1,501 Hungarians between December 2015 and May 2016.

The survey found that Hungarians believe that the situation of corruption in government is “constantly deteriorating,” and more than half of those surveyed find the actions of the government to be insufficient. Around a third of Hungarians believe there is corruption in the political sphere, making it one of the greatest issues of importance for them, ranking just behind the refugee crisis in what are considered to be “serious problems,” according to TI’s executive director for Hungary, József Péter Martin.

Martin said so-called “street corruption” is also of concern to Hungarians, most notably the practice of “gratitude money” customarily given to medical staff at hospitals in return for better treatment. According to the survey, 22 percent of Hungarians pay these gratuities.

While younger respondents are more inclined to do something about corruption than older ones, the average Hungarian still feels increasingly less willing to report corruption. Only 14 percent of respondents think that an average person has any ability to influence corruption.

Brussels bureaucrats come to sniff around

Corruption not only shakes people’s faith in their country’s government and institutions, but also poses serious risks to the country’s economic competitiveness and investment potential, said head of the European Commission’s Budapest delegation Gábor Zupkó.

European Union member states asked the EC several years ago to visit each country to assess their economic situations, and to author reports containing recommendations for what can be fixed, Zupkó continued. To that end, an EC delegation of bureaucrats will arrive next week in Budapest to assess the country’s economy and finances, and prepare a report.