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Transparency International: EU Projects Hotbed For Corruption In Hungary


Projects financed from European Union funds are “routinely overpriced” in Hungary, a report published by the Hungarian chapter of Transparency International, the non-governmental international organisation that monitors and publishes corporate and political corruption, reveals.


Transparency International Hungary director Péter József Martin (photo: Facebook)

According to Transparency International Hungary director József Péter Martin, 60 per cent of Hungary’s public procurement projects and 95 per cent of state investment projects were financed from European Union sources, adding that Hungary receives EU funding amounting to 1 000 billion forints (EUR 3.2bn) a year. Speaking at the introduction of the study on Monday in Budapest, he insisted that without those subsidies “Hungary would have neither growth nor public investments”.

Also speaking at the event, László Kállay, lecturer at Corvinus University of Budapest and TI’s external expert, said that corruption is not only morally indefensible but also diverts funding from important developments and creates a pattern suggesting that success is not a matter of genuine performance.

He pointed out there is often an abundance of funding in areas funded from EU resources and the government’s communication generally suggests that exploiting the funds is sole objective and “the efficiency of their use hardly matters”. Money spent under corrupt practices also boosts this procedure by improving the indicators of exploited sources, Mr. Kállay argued.

Gabriella Nagy, TI’s programme chief, noted that the management of public procurement projects had been diverted from a national agency to ministries in 2014, and were supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office. Those changes, she insisted, had “centralised opportunities for corruption”.

In reaction to the study, Nándor Csepreghy, state secretary at the prime minister’s office, said what TI has established is nothing more than what the government office chief, János Lázár, has emphasised ever since taking over the “state within a state”, the National Development Agency which he abolished in 2014. “The development system established in 2007 was opaque, corrupt and left aside the interests of the Hungarian economy”, Mr. Csepreghy said, adding that what the government had been able to correct only to a degree in 2010 due to Brussels regulations had now been fundamentally overhauled in 2014.

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