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The Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International shows deterioration from last year in the state of corruption in our country. Hungary remains among the mid-ranking countries in terms of corruption in 2008, but has fallen back from its more favorable position within the region. If no effective action is taken against corruption, Hungary may easily slide down the ladder in the next few years.

23rd September, 2008 – The Corruption Perceptions Index published today by Transparency International shows deterioration from last year in the state of corruption in our country. Hungary remains among the mid-ranking countries in terms of corruption, but has fallen back from its more favorable position within the region. If no effective action is taken against corruption, Hungary may easily slide down the ladder in the next few years. Transparency International commissioned Passau University to compile the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on a yearly basis. CPI measures the perceived levels of public-sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on different expert and business surveys. Based on 14 different criteria the 2008 CPI scores 180 countries (the same number as the 2007 CPI) on a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to ten (highly clean). Hungary is judged slightly more corrupt than last year by the experts and business people interviewed, scoring 5.1 against 5.3 in 2007.
Our ranking has deteriorated more significantly as we slid from 39th to 47th place, and the Czech Republic, among others, has overtaken us for the first time. From among the post-communist countries of Central Europe, Estonia and Slovenia also rank higher than us. Although the change in our CPI is within the statistical margin of error, an analysis of trends of corruption shows that the position of Hungary in the region may be jeopardized if no effective action is taken against corruption. The lack of transparency in party and campaign financing and an overly complicated public procurement system are the hotbed of corruption. The weakness of law enforcement, the light sanctions in cases of corruption underline the assumption that corrupt conduct, administration and business operation do not constitute a risk in Hungary. Corrupt transactions carried out through networks building on strong personal relations have become obstacles to economic growth. Pushing back corruption gives a significant boost to economic growth. Research by Prof. Johann Graf Lambsdorff suggests that an improvement in the CPI by one point [on a 10-point scale] increases capital inflows by 0.5 per cent of a country’s gross domestic product and average incomes by as much as 4 per cent.
Stemming corruption requires committed politicians, business people and citizens who understand fully that the honesty of their transactions serves the interests of us all. Transparency International seeks as partners companies constituting “Islands of Integrity” undertaking to operate free from corruption, setting an example for their competitors and for the political elite. Internationally, the 2008 Index draws attention to the fatal link between poverty and corruption. “In the poorest countries, corruption levels can me an the difference between life and death, when money for hospitals or clean water is in play, ” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. Long-time top of the list Finland saw a 0.4 decline and slid to fifth place. Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden share the highest score at 9.3, followed immediately by Singapore at 9.2. Bringing up the rear is Somalia at 1.0, slightly trailing Iraq and Myanmar at 1.3 and Haiti at 1.4. Statistically significant improvements over the last year can be identified in Albania, Cyprus, Georgia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Tonga and Turkey. Similarly, significant declines can be seen in the scores of Bulgaria, Burundi, and the Maldives. The significant decline witnessed in Norway and the United Kingdom shows that regulation and oversight mechanisms of wealthy countries are also at risk. The deterioration in richer European countries is mainly due to corruption phenomena linked to overseas transactions and financing politics.
Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliament and the executive, strict and consistent law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society. Transparency International Hungary Transparency International (TI) is an international NGO leading the fight against corruption, for transparency and accountability in the utilization of public funds. TI focuses on carrying out research and formulating recommendations. In its work, TI co-operates with business, government, the civil society, international organizations and other relevant actors in the fight against corruption. TI does not investigate individual cases of corruption. The Hungarian Chapter of Transparency International has been working since October 2006 as a foundation. Its aim is to quell corruption through asserting the principle of transparency, raising public awareness about, and resistance to corruption in Hungary.

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