Albania has regressed as regards the perception of corruption, and now leads the corruption rankings in all nine sectors within the region, print and electronic media reported over the weekend. According to the Regional Cooperation Council’s latest Balkan Barometer report, the perception of corruption marked a significant increase in Albania as regards all nine main sectors in 2019 compared to 2018.
The report notes that Albania has the lowest trust in the institutions as 90 percent of respondents believe that politics and the justice system are corrupt. Compared to the rest of the Western Balkan region, this percentage is slightly higher. Furthermore, 80 percent of Albanians think that Customs are corrupt while 77 percent of them think that the health system is corrupt. Based on the survey results, the least corrupt in the region are the army, religious services, and non-governmental organizations. Almost half of the population has exchanged bribes for services when seeking medical treatment.
According to the report, some 8% of all the region’s respondents admit to bribing police officers while a further 5% report making informal payments, or giving gifts, to individuals working in the judiciary. However, with the exception of the top three ranked sectors, the prevalence of corruptive practices across other areas reviewed seems to have decreased. A fifth of the population there report bribing individuals working in the judiciary while 16 percent have paid bribes or given gifts to police in the course of 2019.
Nevertheless, there is one notable positive example where the prevalence of bribes in the area of utilities dropped significantly (from 13 percent in 2018 to 8 percent in 2019). According to the report’s findings, 49% of respondents said they were reviewing or applying for vacancies abroad, we’re looking at opportunities, or are preparing to leave the country. Compared to other countries’ data, this is the highest number in the entire region.