Hungary is the most corrupt country in the EU, study finds

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Transparency International: Hungary is seen as the most corrupt in the European Union

Hungary is perceived as the most corrupt country in the European Union, according to Transparency International's latest report. Hungary dropped four places over the past year to 77th, according to the organization's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) replacing Bulgaria. On a global scale, with an average score of 66, Western Europe and the EU is the top-scoring region in the CPI.

According to the report, evidence is "mounting against the Hungarian political elites for their misuse of both state and EU funds". Following a recent agreement with the EU, conditions for Hungary to access €5.8 billion in recovery funds include institutional reforms to strengthen judicial independence and the fight against corruption. Part of EU funds has been suspended due to corruption concerns.

On the top of the rankings, we see Finland, New Zealand, and Denmark, meanwhile on the bottom Syria, South Sudan, and Somalia. In the Eastern European region, Russia has one of the lowest results. "Corruption is also a threat to global security, and countries with high CPI scores play a role in this. (...) The catastrophic consequences of the advanced economies’ complicity in transnational corruption became painfully clear following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine," the study states.  

CPAC is returning to Budapest for the second time

Hungary will host the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for the second time this year. Organizers say they have invited Prime Minister Viktor Orban who was elected to a fourth term last year, to give the keynote speech at the Budapest event. This year's motto will be "Together we are strong" according to their statement. 2022's slogan was "God, Homeland, Family".

Last year journalists from VICE News, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, AP News, the New Year, and other independent journalists were denied accession to the conservative gathering, despite months of requests. In 2022, Orban told the attendees at the event to “have their own media". "It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left,” the nationalist prime mister advised. Orban has received backlash over the past decade from the EU for taking control of the media and democratic institutions in Hungary.

Rod Dreher: Orban was joking when he said he doesn't want Hungary to stay in the EU

Rod Dreher's latest piece for the American Conservative caused quite a stir in Hungary after he quoted Prime Minister Viktor Orban saying he would "absolutely not" like Hungary to stay in the EU. The American columnist later sent a letter to the Hungarian daily Nepszava stating that Orban was simply joking when he answered with a 'definite no' to the question.  "He was clearly joking when he said he would 'definitely not' stay in the European Union. A smile flashed across his face," Dreher told Nepszava. The senior editor was among the 15 foreign journalists who met Orban during a media conference hosted by Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC).

The original quote in the article said  "Someone asked the Prime Minister if he would like Hungary to stay in the EU. "Absolutely not!" – he said, adding that Hungary had no other choice because 85 percent of its exports were directed to the EU." But later Dreher changed the paragraph to the following:  “Orbán said that it is painful for him personally to have Hungary in the EU, subject to its bullying, but there is no question that Hungary will remain in the EU because its economic prosperity depends on it. Still, it is tough to take being pushed around from the EU leadership. Orban's point is that as difficult as it is personally to have to deal with the EU bureaucracy, it has to be done because it is in Hungary's national interest.”

Ukraine summoned the Hungarian ambassador over Orban's 'unacceptable' comments 

 Ukraine's foreign ministry summoned Hungary's ambassador over Viktor Orban's "unacceptable" remarks about Ukraine.  The nationalist prime minister reportedly compared Ukraine to Afghanistan calling the Easter European country a "no man's land".  

“Such statements are completely unacceptable. Budapest is continuing a deliberate course aimed at destroying Hungarian-Ukrainian relations,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook. "The Hungarian ambassador will be summoned to the Ukrainian foreign ministry for a frank discussion. We reserve the right to take other measures in response."

Boris Filatov, mayor of Dnipro also reacted to the Hungarian PM's comments: "First of all, bitchface, no man's land is not ours, it's yours. We have been living here for thousands of years, we are not from the Urals," Filatov wrote on Telegram.