In the latest report of the non-governmental international organization Transparency International, Hungary has been ranked first among the European Union countries in terms of corruption in the public sector.
Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, which scored between 42 and 46 points out of 100, are far behind the top three Scandinavian EU countries. Denmark is the best in class (90 points), followed by Finland (87 points) and Sweden (83 points). Corruption Perceptions Index of Anti-Corruption NGOs for 2022.
Denmark and Finland also top the global rankings, with the latter tied with New Zealand (87) for its “strong democratic institutions and respect for human rights,” while Syria and South Sudan (13) and Somalia (12) are “involved in protracted conflicts,” the list reinforces at the bottom.
Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, and Austria have all seen their scores drop significantly since 2017, while Ireland is the only EU member state whose scores have improved. Moldova, which gained EU candidate status last June, also improved its score.
The UK and Qatar are at historic lows in this year’s edition – although for Doha, the report does not draw a direct link to the so-called Qatargate corruption scandal that has hit Brussels.
The index uses survey data based on interviews with experts and businesspeople from a variety of sources (including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum) to rank 180 countries according to their perceived level of corruption on a scale from 0, which means high corruption, to 100.
Its definition of “corruption” focuses on specific examples related to public officials, from bribery to misuse of public funds, as well as on the ability of governments to curb corruption in the public sector.
As a reminder, in late December 2022, the European Commission announced that it would withhold all 22 billion euros of EU cohesion funds for Hungary until the country returns to democratic reforms and its government fulfills conditions related to the independence of the judiciary, academic freedoms, and LGBT rights.