Libertarian club Lubec, an NGO advocating market reforms, said on Thursday that Serbia had advanced from last year’s 84th to the current 74th place on the latest ranking list of the Economic Freedoms Index, but it is still at the very back of Europe, having biggest problems in the area of the rule of law.
The Economic Freedom in the World Index is published by the Fraser Institute of Canada.
“As in previous editions of the Economic Freedoms Index, Serbia is poorly evaluated in the area of the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of the market economy”, Lubec said in a statement.
It added that, in such economic environment, “there are no adequate mechanisms for the protection of private assets, which directly leads to low levels of domestic investments, low rates of economic growth, low living standard and high emigration rates as the consequences of this environment.”
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Hong Kong and Singapore top this year’s Index, followed by New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, the United States, Mauritius, Georgia, Canada and Ireland.
The worst-ranked countries are Venezuela, Sudan, Libya, Angola, Iran, Algeria, Congo, Zimbabwe, DR Congo and the Central African Republic.
Serbia’s neighbouring countries are ranked as follows: Romania as 23rd, Bulgaria 32nd, Croatia 61st, Slovenia 62nd, Northern Macedonia 71st, Montenegro 80th and Bosnia and Herzegovina 82nd.
Serbia’s total score on the Economic Freedoms Index list is 7.05, slightly lower than the world average.
“Serbia’s poor result is still in the area of business regulation – in addition to the very nature of regulation which in some cases restricts competition and creates room for interest groups close to the government. Implementation of law poses a big problem, as does unequal treatment of different economic players by the law due to corruption or political pressure,” the statement said.
It adds that the public sector is still oversized compared to the private sector.
“Besides being costly, the public sector is also very inefficient compared to European countries. Due to the high rate of corruption, public companies are seen as secure employment for people close to the governing party and not as a service to citizens,” Lubec said.
It added that even in areas where Serbia was relatively highly ranked, such as freedom in international trade, many problems remain and negatively affect the level of economic freedom.
This post is also available in: Italiano