Daniel Freund

30. January 2024 Anti-Corruption

Hungary most corrupt EU country, Ukraine making progress in the fight against corruption: Transparency Int. presents Corruption Index

The fight against corruption in Europe is stagnating. In some Western European countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the perception of corruption has increased significantly in recent years. The erosion of the rule of law goes hand in hand with the increase in corruption. These are the main findings of the new Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which was presented today by Transparency International.

Three examples:

  • The UK was one of the top performers in the CPI for years. Since the Brexit vote and its departure from the European Union, the country has virtually plummeted and has reached a new low with a score of 71/100.
  • Ukraine remains one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, but has made significant progress in the fight against corruption. In the past eleven years, the score has improved by eleven points – since the start of the Russian invasion by as much as four points. However, at 36/100 points, it remains at a low level.
  • Hungary remains the most corrupt country in the EU. With only 42/100 points in CPI, the country is the only one in the EU to remain below the global average. The Orban government’s supposed rule of law reforms after the EU Commission triggered the rule of law mechanism are apparently not (yet) having any effect.

Daniel Freund, Chair of the Anti-Corruption Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:

“The European Union continues to be the least corrupt region in the world. Nevertheless, the regression and stagnation in the fight against corruption in some Member States is worrying. Hungary’s performance is alarming and must be a wake-up call for the EU Commission. The measures taken so far are clearly insufficient to combat the corruption of the Orban government and to repair the rule of law. The decline of democracy, the dismantling of the rule of law and corruption go hand in hand in the European Union. The fight against corruption in the member states must be a top priority for the EU Commission in order to protect European values and democracy.”

The Transparency International 2023 Corruption Index:



Vote on the EU Anti-Corruption Directive on 31 January in the European Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee

On Wednesday 31 January, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will vote on an anti-corruption directive. The Parliament is improving the Commission proposal by making the publication of lobby meetings and asset declarations by MEPs, members of government and senior officials mandatory, making breaches of transparency rules in party funding a criminal offense throughout Europe and defining bribery of MEPs more broadly than is currently the case, particularly in Germany, where it is regulated more restrictively than in many EU countries. Christian Democrats (EPP) and Conservatives (ECR) want to have the criminalisation of breaches of transparency rules, the restriction of immunity and instruments for better EU-wide coordination against corruption voted on separately, most likely in order to delete these compromises. The vote is Wednesday at 1pm.

The fight against corruption in the member states must be a top priority for the EU Commission in order to protect European values and democracy.


The EU can be our best tool in the fight against corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. But it must also be used in the right way. In the future, the EU should fight corruption much more decisively. That is why I have set up an Intergroup against corruption in the European Parliament.