Global Corruption Barometer 2016

Hungarians feel powerless against corruption

According to the Hungarian people corruption is an increasingly serious problem, while the number of those who believe that one can act against it is on the decline. Political and economic decision makers are thought to be corrupt, measures against corruption are perceived to be effortless. Only every fifth Hungarian would report, or serve as witness in courts after facing corruption for being afraid of the consequences. Twice as much bribe has been paid in Hungary for services as in the European Union, mostly in the health care sector. These are the most important findings of the Global Corruption Barometer of Transparency International (TI) regarding Hungary introduced at Európa Pont in Budapest. The global research was carried out in 2016 across 42 European and Central Asian countries.

Corruption is an increasingly dramatic problem

Hungarians perceive corruption to be an increasingly serious problem. Upon the international survey according to 57% of the respondents corruption has worsened for the last four years. More than half of the participants thought that the anti-corruption measures of the government were effortless. This result indicates a significant negative tendency, since according to a similar research of TI Hungary published in 2013 only 48% of the respondents were dissatisfied.

Third of the Hungarians think that the members of the Parliament (32%), the Prime Minister (29%) and government officials (28%) are affected by corrupt affairs. A similar picture is shared about the leaders of the business sector (27%) and the employees of the tax authority (23%).

Despite of the government’s substantial efforts and financial resources channelled into the campaign on migration, according to the Hungarian people corruption and immigration are problems of almost similar scale (28% and 29%).

We pay the most bribe for health care

63% of the survey participants used health care services, each fifth respondent (22%) paid bribe for the service. Corruption is the most common in the health care sector; twice as much bribe was paid in Hungary as in the European Union in general (10%). It is not by accident, that two third of the respondents thinks that the government should pay utmost attention to solving the problems of the health care sector.

We are afraid to act in a land of no consequences

In Hungary the perception and situation of whistleblowers has become worse. Two-third of the respondents said that society does not accept if corruption is reported to the authorities. Moreover, quarter of the participants held that corruption is very difficult to prove, while people are afraid of the consequences of blowing the whistle (24% and 23%).

Every fifth Hungarian would report corruption if being faced with it. Only Slovakian, Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian citizens are more passive if they encounter corruption. Altogether 7% of the Hungarian respondents perceived whistleblowing to be the most effective tool against corruption. That is the lowest rate among the member countries of the European Union. Only 19% of the survey participants would serve as witness in court procedures related to corruption. In practice, such level of reluctance could hinder the adjudication of corruption cases.

Only 14% of the Hungarian respondents think that any citizen can be successful in fighting corruption. With that result Hungary is among the least hopeful countries together with Romania, Slovakia and Russia. “The Hungarian society feels powerless against corruption,” said József Péter Martin, executive director of Transparency International Hungary when introducing the report. The citizens know that they live in a corrupt country, but do not see the way out of this situation.


About the research 

The Global Corruption Barometer of Transparency International (TI) is an international survey examining personal experiences related to corruption. The 2016 Global Corruption Barometer was commissioned by TI and carried out among nearly 60,000 respondents across 42 European and Central European countries, including 23 EU member states. In Hungary the interviews were implemented by TNS Hoffmann between 9 December 2015 and 8 May 2016. The size of the survey sample (1,501) was selected and weighted to be nationally representative of all adults aged 18 and above living in Hungary.

The research was supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Union, Ernst & Young, Ministry of Finances of Sweden, as well as TI-UK, TI-Belgium, TI-Greenland, TI-Netherlands, TI-Switzerland and TI-Spain.


Donation Newsletter signup

Subscribe to our mailing list

Stay up-to-date!

You can cancel your subscription any time.