From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Transparency International: Albania is Europe’s Most Corrupt Country, Falls 23 Places in Three Years

Albania has dropped seven places in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, a  drop of 23 places in just three years, making it the most corrupt country among EU member states and candidate countries along with North Macedonia.

In 2019, Albania scored just 35 points out of a possible 100, placing it alongside the likes of Algeria, Mongolia, and Egypt and being beaten by regional neighbours Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia. The average regional score was 66 out of a hundred, placing Albania far below the average.

The report notes that “issues of conflict of interest, abuse of state resources for electoral purposes, insufficient disclosure of political party and campaign financing, and a lack of media independence” are prevalent in the region and combating it should be a priority for both national governments and the EU.

Between 2013 and 2016, Albania noted a gradual improvement in corruption levels climbing to a semi-respectable 83 out of 176 countries, but this progress was reversed drastically in the following years. In 2017, Albania fell to number 91 a drop of eight places, followed by a drop of another eight places in 2018. 

Then, in 2019 it fell seven places, demonstrating that corruption in Albania is getting worse under the leadership of Prime Minister Edi Rama, despite a number of supposed anti-corruption reforms.

Transparency International observed that over the last year, anti-corruption movements across the world gained momentum as millions of citizens took to the streets to speak out about corruption in their governments.

“From fraud that occurs at the highest levels of government to petty bribery that blocks access to basic public services like health care and education, citizens are fed up with corrupt leaders and institutions,” said the report.

It continues:

“To have any chance of curbing corruption, governments must strengthen checks and balances, limit the influence of big money in politics and ensure broad input in political decision-making.”

Exit reached out to a government spokesperson for their comments on both Albania’s ranking as the worst in Europe, and the 23-place drop over the last three years but no reply was received at the time of publication.