Political and economic freedom and the rule of the law in Serbia and the neighbouring countries have been declining. Other worrying trends include a standstill in fighting corruption and lack of effective judiciary reform (particularly when it comes to the rule of the law) – the participants of the conference organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation from Germany have said.
The Foundation has also presented the newest issue of its Freedom Barometer which analyzes political and economic freedom and the rule of the law in 30 countries in Europe and Central Asia.
The report says that the freedom of exchanging goods, taking up business residence, providing services, free movement and exchange of capital are at peril the most.
Analyste Mihailo Gajic agrees and says that the Western Balkan countries provide the weakest protection of ownership rights, adding that economic freedoms are stagnating in almost all countries.
According to Gajic, longer the country has been in the EU, better its business regulation becomes compared to the countries that joined the EU recently.
Analyst Ivan Despotović says that freedom suffered the most in developing countries. He adds that the media are under a heavy political influence both in Europe and the Balkans and there has been an increase in number of physical and verbal attacks on journalists.
“Apart from the ruling elite, which make their decisions almost completely independently from everyone, we there are other important players in this part of Europe that have a strong influence on social and political developments like the war veterans in Croatia, secret service in Serbia and religious institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina” – Despotovic explains.
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