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Bell calls corruption a ‘serious concern’ in Hungary

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Corruption is a world-wide issue and is a “serious concern” for Hungarians, according to public polls, U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Coleen Bell (pictured) said yesterday evening during a lecture at the Central European University.

While maintaining that corruption “knows no borders” and is a “global problem”, Bell said that “corruption in Hungary is a concern, quite clearly a serious concern of average Hungarians, as public polls consistently show,” according to her speech posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy for Hungary. 

Bell said that according to estimates by the European Commission “corruption costs the EU economy over $170 billion a year, more than one percent of the EU gross domestic product”. She added that corruption “adds up to 10% to the cost of doing business worldwide”.

“As we have seen elsewhere in Europe and other regions of the world, when companies, and governments, are run on corrupt principles, they start to resemble organized crime,” Bell said. “Corrupt companies force consumers to pay more for goods because the cost of bribes is factored in. Corrupt governments sequester public funds for personal benefit – funds that could be used to grow an economy and improve the lives of ordinary citizens. When governments make public procurement decisions through favoritism instead of merit, the best companies will often just stay home, depriving the economy and its citizens of the best solutions.” the ambassador added.

Responding to a reporterʼs question after her speech concerning Bill Clintonʼs recent remarks on the leadership of Hungary and Poland having “Putin-like leaders”, Bell said Clinton is a private individual and expressed his personal opinion, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

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