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Hungary’s Integrity Authority has submitted its first annual report, for the year 2023, to parliament, showing that its five closed cases and sixteen ongoing cases involved European Union support worth 120 billion forints (EUR 304m), the body said on Thursday. The statement citing Ferenc Bíró, the body’s head, said that the establishment of the authority had been an important milestone, reflecting Hungary and the European Commission’s determination in respect of the fight against corruption. “Being an independent body, the authority strengthens the separation of powers and leads efforts to whiten the economy,” it added.
The president said the fact that a “credible institution” had been established within a year “demands respect”. In January 2023, other than “a handful of dedicated employees”, it had no own assets and no offices, “practically it had nothing”, he added. He said the authority had identified “inefficient elements” and faults of the public procurement and asset declaration systems. The authority has made its proposals to address problems and recommended cost-effective solutions which are easy to introduce, he added. The authority’s reports and the establishment of a platform for anonymous reporting aim to restore public trust and promote a culture of accountability, he said.
Bíró said the authority also had plenty to do in the area of prevention. Its mission goes beyond execution, calling for cultural change in favour of zero tolerance, he added. In order to enable the authority to fulfil its goal, the issue of spheres of authority must be placed on the agenda, he said. “This is the number one priority of the Integrity Authority and it requests the support of the government, parliament and the European Commission accordingly,” he added.