SOFIA (Bulgaria), September 9 (SeeNews) - Romania ranked 19th, or the highest among the countries in Southeastern Europe (SEE) in the 2022 economic freedom report of Canada-based think-tank Fraser Institute, while Bulgaria advanced to its highest-ever position since its first appearance in the report in 1985.
At the other end of the spectrum, Bosnia and Herzegovina scored last among SEE countries with a ranking of 89 and 6.64 points, according to the report, which was published on Thursday and is based on the most recent comprehensive data from 2020.
Romania gained nine places in the index compared to last year, with a score of 7.74 points out of 10 possible, slightly lower than the 7.87 points it scored in the previous annual report.
Bulgaria, for its part, has climbed eight places since last year's position at 31, which put it in the "most free" first quartile of nations, although in real terms its score has declined to 7.69 points from 7.79 points since 2021.
Albania was another strong SEE performer in the rankings, moving up to 26th place in 2022 from 31st place in 2021, with a score of 7.64 points.
At 40th place, Montenegro was also in the "most free" category with a score of 7.46 points.
Among other SEE countries, Croatia and North Macedonia were in joint 61st place, with Croatia down from 58th in 2021 while North Macedonia advanced from 77th last year. Moldova was 69th, while Slovenia and Serbia were 75th and 84th, respectively.
Hong Kong remains at the top of 165 countries monitored, with Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand and Denmark rounding off the top five.
Among the lowest-rated countries were the Democratic Republic of Congo, Algeria, the Republic of Congo, Iran, Libya, Argentina and Syria.
The average rating fell to 6.84 in 2020 from 7.00 in 2019, with top performers all registering a decline.
The economic freedom index measures the degree to which countries' policies and institutions contribute to economic freedom. The degree of economic freedom is measured in five broad areas, namely size of government, including volumes of taxation and spending; legal system and property rights; sound money, or inflation; freedom to trade internationally, and the extent of government regulation.