Data Visualization

See how Hungary’s score changed over time in Transparency’s Corruption Perceptions Index

Transparency International released its 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index this week. According to the data, Hungary is still one of the most corrupt states in the region and in the European Union. However, Hungary improved its score by one point compared to last year.  We visualized the data to show you how Hungary’s score and rank changed in the past few years – and how it compares to other countries in the region.

The secretariat of Transparency International in Berlin compiled for the 24th time the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), ranking the countries of the world based on the corruption exposure of the public sector. In 2018, Hungary received a score of 46 on a scale from 100 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt).

This score put Hungary at 64th place among the 180 countries examined. Hungary improved its score by one point from last year.

According to the report, Hungary is still among the moderately corrupt countries of the world. However, it is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe; only the score of Bulgaria and Greece is worse. Hungary is the most corrupt out of the Visegrad countries (Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary).

It is also telling that trends in the past few years were the opposite in the region. Hungary is the only country in the V4-region whose score fell since 2012.

It is also worth noting that the Czech Republic had a lower score than Hungary only a few years ago but it gained 10 points and now ranks 38th in the global list.

’Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption. Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage’ – said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.

The research highlights the situation of Turkey and Hungary, where scores decreased by eight and nine points, respectively, over the last six years.

The research also emphasized that Hungary received the lowest score on the issue of political rights since the fall of communism in 1989. This score reflects the deterioration of rule of law and democratic institutions.

The slight improvement in Hungary’s score in the survey can be attributed to the improvement of economic indicators. Positive macroeconomic indicators and short-term growth have slightly increased Hungary’s improvement in global competitiveness rankings, while the state institutions continue to perform rather poorly.

According to Miklós Ligeti, legal head of TI Hungary, economic actors have now gotten used to corruption, 'made peace with it' and put a price on it.

At the same time, the amount of taxpayer money spent on public procurement is constantly growing. Back in 2013 only 2400 billion Hungarian forints (7.5 billion Euros) were spent. By 2017 this number grew to 3630 billion Hungarian forints (11.42 billion Euros).

To make things worse, the money spent is being more and more concentrated in the hands of oligarchs.

Back in 2013  oligarchs Lőrinc Mészáros, István Garancsi, István Tiborcz and Lajos Simicska received only 11% of the public procurement funds (264 billion Hungarian forints, or about 831.2 million Euros).

In 2017, however, Mészáros has won 8,6% of the public tenders (worth 299 billion Hungarian forints, or 941.42 million Euros) and László Szíjj won 17% (about 606,5 billion Hungarian forints, or 1.9 billion Euros), meaning that the two of them got 26% of the public procurement market.

Written by Márk Tremmel

You can read the original, Hungarian version of this story here.