Archive for the ‘Hungary’ category

Corruption in Europe

October 28, 2010

Transparency International (TI) published its annual report on corruption and Greece now ranks as the most corrupt member state of the EU, taking the spotlight off Romania and Bulgaria which have moved slightly up the TI ‘corruption index’ to just ahead of Greece. Also struggling with corruption, according to the scales used by TI, are the Czech Republic, Italy and Hungary. Their TI score has fallen since last year’s report. Russia’s score has also fallen although Ukraine’s has risen and its corruption index is now slightly ahead that of Russia. The UK ranks 20th out of 178 countires surveyed, its lowest for several years.

Outstanding among the European countries is Denmark, which ranks at number one in the list, sharing that position with Singapore and New Zealand.

The impact on the Greek economy has been noted by leading Greek experts who have estimated that corruption probably costs  the country several billion dollars per year. This is doubtless true for other European countries that also struggle to eliminate or reduce corruption. The report’s authors do not attempt a correlation between the corruption index and majority Christian traditions in each of the European countries. This would in theory be possible though in all probability would be seen as controversial.

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Hungary lurches to the right

April 12, 2010

The Magyar Garda

Elections to the Hungarian Parliament have given seats to  26 members of the far-right Jobbik (see the current edition of our research quarterly Vista). The 31 year old leader says he will take his oath wearing the paramilitary uniform of the Magyar Garda (Hungarian Guard), linked with violent attacks on Roma communities in Hungary.

The majority of votes (52.8%) were won by the centre right party, Fidesz, which between 1998-2002 courted the support of Hungary’s majority Roman Catholic Church (5.5 million members according to the 2001 census) and the Reformed Church (1.6 million members in 2001) . The success of Fidesz is a reflection of the Socialist Party’s inability to deal with corruption and its own  inability to govern effectively.

The churches of Hungary and a number of mission agencies are active among the Roma communities in Hungary. Their accommodation to the political changes will require wisdom and a keen Kingdom perspective as they work in welfare, community, church-planting, and evangelistic initiatives.