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CPI 2008: Progress: Albania shows marked improvement

Public demand sustainable measures and results in the fight against corruption

On 23 September, Transparency International (TI) launched its 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a survey that measures the perceived levels of public-sector corruption in 180 counties. Albania scored 3.4 (where 10 represents highly clean and 0 highly corrupt), a significant improvement on its 2007 score of 2.9. The result represents the biggest ever improvement in Albania’s CPI score and raises the expectations of the public and international opinion for more responsibility and sustainable progress.

Albania was first covered in the CPI survey in 2003, scoring 2.5. The lowest score for Albania was in 2005, when it scored 2.4.

“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society, said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “When these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people and for justice and equality in societies more broadly.”

TI Albania recognises the positive initiatives that have been made in education, business registration, taxes, procurements and licences, and urges that they should be part of a systemic approach to the problem of corruption. Above all, a clear strategy and action-plan, with measurable objectives and indicators are necessary to tackling the problem. Anti-corruption reforms require transparency and full participation from independent institutions, civil society, the media and every citizen of the country, throughout the entire process.

An independent professional system of justice is an important component in the anti-corruption battle. TI Albania welcomes the efforts of those working towards an increase in independence, but notes that there is more to be done in order to liberate the judiciary from corruption and increase its independence from the politics in respect to the law.

The development of administrative capacities and placing public administration on professional bases will maximise the results in the fight against corruption, while the separation of the public administration from political influence will mean that it is better positioned to serve the interests of the citizens.

The CPI result for Albania this year is heartening, but the country must push forward: TI Albania calls on the country to achieve international election standards and conduct free and fair elections. Bolstering the legal regulation of political party financing is one step to achieving this goal.

TI’s 2008 CPI clearly demonstrates that corruption remains a serious challenge in Albania, as for other South Eastern Europe countries scoring below 5, indicating that many of them face serious levels of perceived public-sector corruption.

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