Points are awarded, for example, according to whether the government has been successful in curbing corruption and whether corrupt officials have been prosecuted or punished. Corruption includes bribery, corruption, nepotism, embezzlement of public funds, effective prosecution of corrupt public officials, and effective integrity mechanisms in the public sector.
Eva Gebelinger, CEO of TI Austria stated, “The result is bad and real, nothing to be condoned. One of the main reasons is the announcement of national anti-corruption projects that have been announced but not implemented, including lobbying and party funding regulations. Serious allegations and scandals at the highest political levels are a big problem for the population’s confidence in democracy.
A board member of Transparency International Austria, Georg Krakow, said that the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group found in 2021 that the Austrian government had satisfactorily implemented only two of the 19 recommendations issued in 2017. “In order to achieve the level required by TI- Austria in terms of anti-corruption measures and transparency, the government should exercise influence in several places.” Delays in FOIA implementation were an issue, with only the federal prosecutor being discussed and gaps in the lobbying and advocacy record identified, but the political will to improve was missing.
The trend of the Corruption Perceptions Index is steadily declining: in 2019, Austria still had 77 points. In 2021, 74 points was the worst result since 2014. While there has been a lack of the exemplary job in anti-corruption policies in recent months and years, “everyday corruption” has decreased dramatically over the past 10-20 years, according to TI Austria.
Denmark, New Zealand and Finland are in first place with 88 points. Austria also lags behind in the German-speaking region: Switzerland seventh with 84 points and Germany tenth with 80 points. Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are at the bottom of the list.
Justice Minister Alma Zadek (Al-Khidr) sees the necessity of working because of the arrangement. “Austria’s poor performance shows that we need to raise the bar against corruption,” she said in a statement to APA. Meanwhile, she referred to the draft prepared by her ministry to tighten the criminal code on corruption, which is currently being voted on by the coalition partner ÖVP. On the one hand, this should penalize the purchase of authorization. The same applies if a person promises illegal acts that harm the state even before an official transaction is conducted.
The opposition saw the confirmation of their allegations against the government: SPÖ judiciary spokeswoman Salma Yildirim called in a radio broadcast to strengthen the judiciary. The president of the FPÖ, Herbert Kekel, sees “members of the Turquoise Order” as the main reason for Austria’s decline in the rankings. “Austria must finally tackle corruption firmly,” said Stephanie Crisper, chair of NEOS’s parliamentary group on the upcoming commission of inquiry.
In light of the new figures, official Austria has also been awarded a dubious honor with the Clean Hands Initiative. On Tuesday morning in front of the Federal Chancellery, “Only” the Republic awarded the “Silver Lubricant” award for “special achievements in the lubrication of political processes.” For this purpose, a small red carpet victory podium has been set up at Ballhausplatz.
Martin Kreutner, a participant in the anti-corruption poll, noted that recent scandals, such as new chats condemning corruption, were not included in the current ranking, which is why only the “silver medal” was awarded this time. This will not appear until next year. Ursula Pettner, a spokeswoman for the Clean Hands Initiative, emphasized that Austria was “very good” at corruption. The main problem is that such an arrangement is absolutely required.
“Food practitioner. Bacon guru. Infuriatingly humble zombie enthusiast. Total student.”