Corruption toppled Serbia's ranking in Freedom House report


Corruption, or more precisely the worsening situation in that field, contributed the most to Serbia's drop in this year's Freedom House report, Milos Damjanovic, the author of the report told Voice of America, adding that the state of democracy in the country drops by a little every year, setting a continuous decline in this area as well.

The situation in the field of fight against corruption, the election process, the problem of the trapped state and the media situation were the key parameters on the basis of which Freedom House demoted Serbia by one place in this year's report and dropped it from the group of partially free countries to the group of countries with a hybrid government based on authoritarianism as a consequence of incomplete democratic change, Damjanovic told Voice of America.

According to him, for years – Serbia has been falling little by little and losing the progress it has made in the past.

“Every year, that assessment of the state of democracy in Serbia decreases a little and that decline is felt by various parameters we monitor – the integrity of the election process, or the course of the election process, the state of media freedoms, the overall state of democracy in the country. There is simply a continuous setback,” Damnjanovic noted.

In recent years, Serbia has regularly lost points on the media situation, and Damnjanovic pointed out that he is most surprised by the situation in the area of the election process:

“Serbia has had a history of election fraud during the 1990s. And when there were some indications that there might be a bit of an election fraud several years ago, (…) it was really unbelievable to me that after such a history, someone would start doing something like that. This clearly recalls the undemocratic period of the 1990s,” he said.

Damjanovic said for Voice of Amerika that he believes everyone in the international community knows what the situation with freedoms and democracy in Serbia is.

“I basically think the EU is not too concerned with the EU integration of this region. The EU is primarily concerned with the stability and this government offers stability. It offers itself as a partner for stability so, in my opinion, the international community is ready to turn a blind eye to some things, to many things,” the author of the report noted.

In fact, he said, the EU is turning a blind eye to many things this government does because they expect the government to cooperate with them regarding Kosovo and other issues.