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Albania has seen the worst fall in the region in the corruption index of Transparency International, TI, which has ranked it the most corrupt country in Europe.
|Corruption starts here | Source : Flickr|
The watchdog organisation "Corruption Perception Index" saw Albania plunge in its rankings from from 95th place out of 176 countries in 2011 to 113th position in 2012.
“The results for 2012 show that Albanians continue to pay dearly for the cost of corruption,” Transparency International Albania said in a statement.
“Albania and Kosovo have the worst performance in the region and in Europe,” it added.
Kosovo went up from 112th place in 2011 to 105th place in 2012.
Other countries in the region saw also their corruption perception rankings worsen, with Montenegro in 75th place and Macedonia in 74th place, down from 66st and 69th places in 2011.
Meanwhile Croatia's ranking went up, from 66th in 2011 to 62nd place in 2012, as did Serbia and Bosnia, which went up from 86th and 91st to 80th and 72nd positions.
Reacting to the findings of the index, Albania’s Socialist opposition leader, Edi Rama, blamed the government, saying the situation for Albanians was becoming hopeless.
“This is a present by the Albanian government for this centennial,” Rama said. “With this level of corruption there is no hope for economic growth,” he added.
Albania marked last week the 100th anniversary of the declaration of its independence from the Ottoman Empire.
The right-wing Red & Black Alliance also pointed the finger at the Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, calling for his arrest.
“Berisha is the most corrupt premier in Europe… and now this is fact,” its leader, Kreshnik Spahiu said. “Albania can only develop if Sali Berisha is sent to prison,” he added.
The New Democratic Spirit, a splinter group from the ruling Democrats headed by former president Bamir Topi, said the government had no plan to curb corruption.
The CPI ranks countries based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index, a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of institutions.
The 2012 index published by the Berlin-based watchdog shows that corruption continues to ravage societies around the world.
Two-thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable.
Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tie in first place with scores of 90, helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public posts. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia once again are at the bottom of the index.
In the Vellusha area of Prishtina, men in beards and women in full veil are a common sight, as hard-line Muslims stake a claim to part of the Kosovo capital.