The 2016 Transparency International Corruption Index was released on January 25, 2017.
Not quite the worst in the EU, but the perceived corruption in Croatia – ranked 49 in the 2016 Transparency International Corruption Index – was serious enough to merit special mention in the accompanying blog from head of Transparency International’s office in Brussels:
“Last year, four EU Member States scored less than 50, indicating serious problems with corruption – Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Romania. This year, thanks to backsliding by Hungary and Croatia, the number is six. Only four EU member states improved their scores and two of these – Italy and Romania – from a very low base.
“Croatia and Hungary’s slide comes at a time when both countries are clamping down on civil society and other independent institutions, culminating in the spectacle last year of the Hungarian government allegedly siphoning-off funds from the National Central Bank to fund artworks and property for the Fidesz party faithful.
“This is the new face of corruption in Europe. Not the lawless, ‘anything goes’ environment of the immediate post-Soviet period, but the deliberate shaping of the laws and institutions to favour a ruling party and its cronies – all under the guise of a nationalist, ‘illiberal’ agenda.”