In the 2018 Corruption Perception Index compiled by Transparency International, Albania has dropped eight places to make it the 99th most corrupt country in the world.
Despite registering an overall rise of three points over the last five years, this year saw a slip from 38 (out of a possible 100) in 2017 to 36 this year. This places Albania at number 99 out of a total of 180 countries, a drop of 8 places from the previous year. Albania now sits along side countries such as Columbia, Philippines, Tanzania, and Thailand who all scored a total of 36 points.
This year’s report has revealed a continued failure across most countries to exert any kind of control over corruption which is directly contributing to a crisis in democracy around the world. Whilst there are some exceptions such as Argentina, Estonia, and Senegal who saw increases on their 2017 scores, the data overwhelmingly shows that the majority of countries are failing to make serious inroads against corruption.
Chairman of Transparency International, Delia Ferreira Rubio said in a statement:
“Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.”
Eastern Europe, including the Balkan region has come under fire for a lack of suitable checks and balances that threaten anti-corruption efforts across the area. The 2017 report from Freedom House labelled Albania as a “hybrid regime” that exhibited dangers of an authoritarian nature from Prime Minister Edi Rama. Then, in the Democracy Index 2018, the country was classified again as a hybrid regime due to the lack of a functioning government, voting irregularities, weak rule of law, and lack of an independent justice system.
This year’s poor result for the country in the Corruption Perception Index has been attributed in part to a “political stalemate” that blocked several anti-corruption reforms from moving forward, as well as the questionable efficiency of the judicial vetting process, and any meaningful anti-corruption institutional frameworks.
The United States dropped four places in this year’s report, dropping out of the top 20 least corrupt countries for the first time. Also on the “to watch” list were Hungary and Brazil who all registered significant drops. Whilst no countries managed a perfect score of 100, Denmark, New Zealand and Finland took their places at the top of the table, each registering scores of 85 points or over.
Falling below the global average of 43 points, Albania is also one of the lowest in the region with both Montenegro and Macedonia attaining better results. The report notes that despite many EU candidate countries (such as Albania) or those in ascension negotiations, it seems that EU rules and conditions are having little impact on ensuring institutions are free from political influence.
The report adds that these countries are exhibiting a failure to show true commitment to the rule of law. Specifically, failing to disclose information about political party finances and acting against civil society, investigative journalists and political opponents.