Hungarians least disapproving of corruption within the EU

While a majority of Europeans regard corruption as unacceptable, sentiments differ across the EU member states

EUPINIONS ECHO Hungarians least disapproving of corruption within the EU

Every week, surveys from all across the EU tell us what Europeans are thinking, feeling and talking about. In our new segment, eupinions echo, we collect these voices and play them back to you. Each week, we highlight one survey of particular interest in a short blogpost and share daily new survey results via our website and our twitter channel.


Europeans as a whole seem to agree: 69% of respondents across the EU consider corruption as unacceptable in modern society according to a new Eurobarometer report, conducted by Kantar and published in June 2020. A look at the member state level, however, offers a much more varied perspective. While a record 88% of Portuguese share this view, only 38% of Hungarians do so as well. Together with Latvia (39%) and the Czech Republic (41%), this makes Hungary the EU country least disapproving of corruption.

Source: Kantar / Eurobarometer June 2020

At the same time, an overwhelming majority of 87% of Hungarians consider corruption to be widespread in their own country. In this regard, however, Hungarians are not alone, as over seven in ten Europeans (71%) similarly consider corruption as widespread in their countries. While only a minority of Scandinavians in Finland (22%), Denmark (35%) and Sweden (40%) share this negative perception, almost all Croatians (97%), Greeks (95%) and Spanish (94%) respondents do. Compared to previous Eurobarometer surveys on the same topic, this marks a small uptick in perceived corruption within the EU from 2007, when only 68% of Europeans considered corruption to be a widespread problem in their countries.

Source: Kantar / Eurobarometer June 2020

Interestingly, even though the general perception of corruption levels in EU member states appears to be quite high, only a much smaller fraction of people report to have personally encountered, or been affected by, corruption in their daily lives. About a quarter (26%) of EU citizens report to have been personally affected by corruption and only 8% say they have personally experienced any form of corruption in the past 12 months.

There are various explanations for this discrepancy. One such explanation, which we explore in great detail in our latest eupinions study – The Optimism Gap, could be that people generally tend to be more pessimistic about the state and future of society as a whole, as compared to their own personal lives. Another reason could be related to where Europeans tend to most likely suspect corruption. When asked among which groups or institutions Europeans believed corruption to be most widespread, political parties (53%) and politicians (49%) came first, while institutions more closely involved in peoples’ daily lives, such as social security and welfare authorities (15%) or the education sector (13%) were less often mentioned.



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About the survey: The survey was carried out by the Kantar network in 28 EU member states between the 6th and 19th of December 2019 (with the UK still being a member state at the time). A total of 27,498 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face to face.