Serbia and Albania top Balkan corruption levels: survey

Questionnaire results generated by the study
Questionnaire results generated by the study
 Citizens of Serbia and Albania perceive a higher level of corruption in their countries compared to the other 4 Western Balkan countries, according to a Survey by the Regional Cooperation Council conducted this summer as part of the Security Barometer.

"One of the complex factors influencing dissatisfaction levels with the overall situation in the region's economy is related to the high levels of perceived corruption. The overwhelming majority of respondents (86%) believe that corruption is somewhat or very widespread, with Serbia ranking first (90%), followed by Albania (87%)," states the report accompanying the Barometer Survey.

It remains crucial that one in two respondents in the region generally sees corruption deeply rooted in the economies (reporting that the phenomenon is very widespread).

Analysts of the Regional Cooperation Council report that responses to questions about corruption provide a pessimistic view of widespread corruption. Respondents have admitted that corrupt practices, both small and large, are a normal part of life in the economies of the region, and the response to corruption is ineffective and insufficient.

The belief in corruption is so strong because it fosters perceptions that it is often the only way to access public services.

The resilience of democratic systems to face instability largely depends on the absence of corruption and nepotism in the public sector. State capture is an absolute obstacle to democratic development, states the analysis of the survey results.

Now, corruption in the Balkans, but especially in Albania, is defined as systematic political corruption, in which politicians exploit their control over an economy and manipulate decision-making processes to their advantage. Consequently, although the European integration of the Western Balkans has continued for more than two decades, corruption still permeates all spheres of society in the region.

In its Enlargement Strategy, the European Commission acknowledged the lack of progress among the current candidate economies for the EU, highlighting the existing problem of state capture at all levels of government and administration.

Worryingly, progress against corruption achieved in the Western Balkans between the mid-2000s and 2010 has now stalled, and societal enthusiasm has waned.

The European Commission's Progress Reports for 2022 on the economies of the Western Balkans point out some new shortcomings when it comes to the fight against corruption. According to the reports, all economies in the region suffer from high-level corruption, with the main problem being the low number of convictions.
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