Government corruption is a problem all over the world -- but some of the countries in the Balkan region continue to struggle with relatively serious governmental and political problems, even in the modern age.
An anti-corruption group called Transparency International
rates all but one of 12 Balkan countries as being highly corrupt, singling
out Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia, as well as
Bosnia and Herzegovina, for what TI analysts call “endemic corruption.”
A 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index evaluates 176 countries – other Balkan nations, such as Croatia and Greece received higher than average
scores for the region, but still didn't make it anywhere near the top of the
list when compared with other nations in other parts of Europe.
In characterizing what brings nations down on the index, Transparency
International cited “capture of political decision-making” as one of the most
fundamental forms of political corruption in the Balkans.
“Companies, networks and individuals unduly influence laws
and institutions to shape policies, the legal environment and the wider economy
to their own interests,” researchers wrote.
European Union members Denmark,
Finland and Sweden led the list of least corrupt nations.
Transparency International's report suggested countries
looking to join the EU need to hold themselves to a high standard
in promoting true democracy and maintaining political stability.
By contrast, the group points to egregious examples of
corruption in Balkan states, such as a former prime minister of Kosovo who had established links to organized crime, or an Albanian official who worked with
Although Kosovo ranked last in the Balkan states in the 2016 report, its status had climbed from previous publications. Artan Canhasi, program manager with Kosova Democratic Institute, a branch of Transparency International in Kosovo, told Balkan Business Wire.
“Though the evaluation
is mainly focused in the public sector, it is often interpreted as an
evaluation attributable to the performance of the entire country,” Canhasi said. “Based
on this index, rating of countries can improve because of an open governance
where leaders are accountable to the public, while poor assessment is a sign of
mismanagement of funds and public positions and lack of penalties for corrupt
practices and public institutions that do not respond to needs of citizens.”
problems in Kosovo, such as campaign finance.
“The key problem in
Kosovo is the lack of transparency in the financing of political parties and
campaign expenditures; parties continue to not publish their financial resources
and their expenditures,” Canhasi said. “Non-professionalism, party influence
and control in nomination and selection of candidates in all public sectors, at
all levels is another obstacle. Health and judiciary sectors continue to face
the highest level of corruption, lack of transparency and basic services for
He also mentioned
“TI Kosovo believes
that Kosovo's position in ranking will improve in case that electronic procurement,
which is expected to be implemented, could enable publishing of contracts in
the short term and when the politics of the country will focus on strengthening
the rule of law and strengthening accountable practices in the long term,”
Transparency International calls out corruption in Kosovo, other Balkan nations
Organizations in this Story
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