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EC: Hungary anti-corruption policy “ambitious”, “concerns remain”

EU

The European Commission acknowledged “ambitious” policies in Hungary to fight corruption but said political party financing, control mechanisms for public procurement procedures and conflicts of interest among public officials remain concerns listed in the biannual European Union Anti-Corruption Report published this week.

The EC briefly summarized the findings on Hungary thusly: “Hungary has in place a number of tools to increase integrity and transparency in public administration. Some ambitious anti-corruption policies have been developed. However, concerns remain, such as those related to informal relations between businesses and political actors at the local level …

“[F]urther efforts can be made, notably when it comes to financing of political parties, and control mechanisms surrounding public procurement procedures and conflicts of interest among public officials. More effort can be made to strengthen accountability standards for elected and appointed officials, and to deal with risks concerning favoritism in public administration. Further steps can also be taken to progressively eliminate the practice of gratitude payments in the healthcare sector.”

The report showed 89% of Hungarians participating in an opinion survey agree that corruption is widespread in their country, compared to an average 76% for the EU as a whole. About 13% of Hungarians say they have been asked or expected to pay a bribe in the past year, compared to an average 4% for the EU. About 31% of Hungarians say government efforts to combat corruption are effective, significantly topping the 23% EU average.

In summarizing the report in an online article cheekily headlined “We have an EU Anti-Corruption Report – So What?” Transparency International European Union (TI-EU) found that this latest study confirmed “our findings from two years ago that across the EU there are systematic corruption risks and governance failings in such areas as party financing and whistleblower protection.”

TI-EU promises its own such study and report on EU-based institutions as part of its European Union Integrity System Project in spring.

Back in 2011, EC officials had stated that the Anti-Corruption Report would serve as a monitoring mechanism revealing “failures and vulnerabilities across the [EU].”

-- material from MTI was used in this article

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