Corruption Still on the Increase in the Czech Republic

Transparency International

According to an annual survey carried out by Transparency International, corruption in the Czech Republic has risen again this year. Out of 91 countries surveyed, the Czech Republic ranked 47th, five places lower than this time last year, and ten lower than in 1999. Lucie Krupickova has more:

Transparency International
The countries surveyed by Transparency International receive points out of 10 for how they deal with corruption. But it was bad news for the Czech Republic, as it only scored 3.9 points. This score is worse than that of other EU candidate countries such as Poland, Slovenia, Hungary or Bulgaria. I asked commentator Jiri Pehe whether this means that the Czech Republic - compared to those countries mentioned - is not handling corruption:

"The handling of corruption in the Czech Republic, or let´s be specific, by Czech politicians, has been very bad. The social democratic government promised when they started that they would fight corruption. So far they have done very little and I think one of the reasons is so-called opposition agreement which allows them to govern but which has also tied them with the largest opposition party and those two parties are basically together preventing any large scaled measures aimed against people who are engaged in corruption or have committed large economic crimes."

Almost two-thirds of the states on the Corruption Perceptions Index scored less than five out of 10. This, say experts, shows that perceived corruption among public officials and politicians in most countries has reached crisis proportions. Since the Czech Republic has been included in the survey, its score has got worse every year. This year the country reached 47th place, last year it was 42nd and in 1999, 37th place. What is behind this negative development? Jiri Pehe again:

"I think the overall political environment in the country is not transparent and when you have a non-transparent political institutions and non-transparent political processes, corruption flourishes. I think that the level of corruption is a very good indicator of the state of democracy in any country and, unfortunately, 47th place in the corruption survey is not a good report on Czech democracy."

According to the director of the Czech branch of Transparency International, Michal Burian, one of the reasons for such a high level of corruption in this country is because politicians talk a lot about fighting it, but in practise little is done to prevent it. I asked Jiri Pehe which concrete steps should be undertaken to reduce corruption in the Czech Republic:

"On the political level we need a regular opposition and regular government that are separated, not tied through something like an opposition agreement. We also need separation of politicians from economic institutions. So far, lots of politicians sit on boards of big companies and I don't think it will be possible until this current political arrangement is in place. Finally, it's also education. We need to educate people in this country that things cannot be achieved only by paying for them under the table so to speak. That is a difficult part, because I don´t think that that education will work until people see good examples and behaviour of our politicians and institutions."

Author: Lucie Krupičková
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