Corruption still prevalent in Czechia according to worldwide ranking

Transparency International says Czechia has been treading water for 15 years and lacks the courage to make needed reforms. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 31.01.2023 10:49:00 (updated on 31.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic ranked 41st out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Czechia improved over the previous index, scoring 56 out of 100 points, two more than one year ago. Despite the improvement, it is still eight points behind the EU average.

After it was in the 19th position in the 27-member EU for three years, Czechia moved up to 16th to tie with Italy and Slovenia. The lowest rankings in the EU go to Bulgaria, with 43 points, and Hungary, with 42 points.

Among the Visegrád (V4) countries, Czechia took the lead for the first time, overtaking Poland, which dropped to 55 points. On the other hand, Slovakia added another point, rising to 53 points. Hungary was last in the V4.

Denmark led the ranking with 90 points, followed by Finland and New Zealand, each with 87 points. On the contrary, Syria, and South Sudan ranked worst with 13 points, followed by Somalia at 12 points.

Lack of a clear strategy

The Czech branch of Transparency International said curbing corruption is still faltering in Czechia. Progress in the long term has been “two steps forward and two steps back” with politicians lacking a clear strategy and the will for making systemic changes.

Most anti-corruption laws put in place over the past decade are due to European legislation related to Czechia's EU membership, Transparency International added.

Ondřej Kopečný, the director of the Czech branch, said the current government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala has not brought significant change, even though replacing former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who had been caught up in a corruption scandal and conflict-of-interest accusations, was a positive step.

“It seems that [the government] was satisfied with the fact that Andrej Babiš is no longer the prime minister and forgot that he can be one again,” Kopečný said.

“The government coalition has not yet found the courage to amend the absolutely toothless law on the conflict of interest. Its proposal to protect whistle-blowers is only a shadow of a truly effective solution, and weak plans to regulate lobbying do not raise high hopes either,” Kopečný said.

Kopečný added that the government’s attitude toward incidents of corruption is also disappointing. “If [the incidents] concern their members, we can hear lots of excuses, downplaying of information or installing suspected politicians into advisory posts, like in the past,” he said.

Not sinking, but not significantly improving

Petr Leyer, a lawyer and board member of the Czech branch, said the CPI needs to be looked at in the long term as it shows the development and trends of the given society. “Czechia has clearly been treading water for 15 years. It is not markedly sinking like, for example, Hungary, but it has not been improving in general,” Leyer said.

In connection with the war in Ukraine and Russian aggression, Transparency International pointed out that Russia dropped one point to score 28 points and at the same time fell one place to 137th, which puts them in last place in Europe. Ukraine, on the other hand, improved by one point to reach 33 points and jumped from 122nd to 116th place.

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