“It’s not Orbán’s system that’s corrupt, it’s the people [themselves],” said Ferenc Bíró, president of the recently established anti-corruption bodies, the Integrity Authority and the Anti-Corruption Working Group, in an interview with Bloomberg.
Bíró told the media outlet that the government should not be equated with corruption, as he believes the level of corruption is not higher in Hungary than anywhere else. And yet, Bíró could not promise back in December that the names and applications of the members of the Integrity Authority would be transparently and publicly available.
The European Union mandated the creation of the Authority, claiming dissatisfaction with the government’s anti-corruption measures and thereby freezing the payment of EU subsidies due to concerns over democratic backsliding. Eliding over this detail, Ferenc Bíró told ATV that “it actually doesn’t matter why the authority was created. The important thing is that it exists.”
It will still take time, perhaps even several years according to the head of Hungary’s anti-corruption bodies, before the Authority begins operating at full strength. However, a number of specialists are planning to be hired in the coming weeks to help detect fraud and corruption.
The working group can suspend public procurements and compel state authorities to investigate cases of suspected corruption, but it cannot bring charges or launch investigations.