From: Alice Taylor
Albania’s Economic Freedom Fell in 2020, Remains Below European Average

Declines in property rights and judicial effectiveness have contributed to Albania’s decline in economic freedom in 2021.

This is according to the 2021 Index of Economic Freedom report 2021 that evaluates the economic freedoms of 178 countries around the world.

Albania fell 1.7 points in 2020 and now ranks 66th freest overall, and 35th out of 45 European countries. Its overall score is below the regional average but above the global average.

2020 was a year that resulted in the country stalling in its progress to catch up with the European average. Despite this, the report notes that the government appears to have maintained control of the budget deficit and public debt.

It also noted that to advance its candidacy for EU accession, Albania needs to strengthen rule-of-law institutions and improve its scores for property rights, judicial effectiveness, and government integrity.

Sadly, it also found that ” with high unemployment, sluggish growth, and weak infrastructure, Albania remains one of Europe’s poorest countries.”

Within the rule of law, judicial effectiveness scored just 22.8 points out of a possible 100. Property rights scored 46.1 and the government’s integrity managed to acquire only 40 points.

The report notes that while assistance from international donors has improved property registration, the register remains incomplete. Issues include the cumbersome procedures being subject to bribery and the weak enforcement of property rights. The judiciary is subject to “political pressure, intimidation, and limited resources.”

It also noted that more than half of all judicial members were dismissed because of “mob ties or unexplained wealth”.

Public administration, it reports, is inefficient, incompetent, and corrupt.

Within the regulatory efficiency section, Albania scored highly for monetary freedoms and moderately high for business freedom. Labour freedom, however, barely scraped 50 points. The report said that the implementation and enforcement of labour laws are inconsistent and a number of other reforms are yet to be raised. Furthermore, the increasing reliance on public-private partnerships raises the issue of state influence in certain sectors.

In 2020, property rights, judicial effectiveness, labour freedom and trade freedom all decreased.

The number one freest country was Singapore with 89.7 points, followed by New Zealand with 83.9 points and Australia with 82.4 points. Other high-ranking countries included Switzerland, Ireland, Taiwan, and the UK.

Bottom of the list was North Korea followed by Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Eritrea.

Albania was beaten by Kosovo and Serbia, but performed better than Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Turkey.