Central Europe and Baltics still struggling to cast off corruption, TI survey shows

Central Europe and Baltics still struggling to cast off corruption, TI survey shows
Bribery rates across CEE/CIS.
By bne IntelliNews November 17, 2016

The performance of Central European and Baltic countries to stem corruption in the political system continues to be middling to poor, Transparency International’s (TI) Global Corruption Barometer suggested on November 16.

Within the two regions, Slovak MPs are viewed most dimly by the population, with 43% believing them bent, according to the survey. At 32%, Hungary is another above the EU average of 27%, although well below Moldova, where 76% of people mistrust MPs.

Somewhat surprisingly given the regular reports of low level corruption amongst politicians in the country, with just 25% assuming MPs are on the take, Czechs are beaten only by Latvians (24%) for faith in their lawmakers. There are few data for Poland reflecting a high ratio of "don't know" in answers to the survey. Germans have the most confidence; just 6% of people are suspicious.

However, the Czechs are also some of the most unhappy with government efforts to stamp out corruption, with 66% criticising the effort. Only Latvians and Lithuanians (both 71%) are more unimpressed in the region. Just over half of Slovaks (57%) and Hungarians (56%) consider government action to quash graft is insufficient.

"Hungarian society feels powerless against corruption, an attitude which further encourages passivity and insecurity,” Jozsef Peter Martin, executive director of TI Hungary told MTI. At the same time, “everyday corruption” is common, especially in the healthcare sector, Martin added.

In the past year, 24% of Lithuanians and 22% of Hungarian respondents claim to have paid money for access to basic public services. Latvia also ranks poorly with 15%, and Slovakia at 12%, but the rest of the region sits below the EU average of (10%).

However, just 28% of Hungarians believe corruption is a serious issue. A whopping 67% mentioned the state of healthcare as a top concern, while 46% considere unemployment a serious issue.