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Dec 18, 2017 18:15 EEST
December 18 (SeeNews) - Slovenia was the most free country in Southeast Europe (SEE), according to the 2017 Freedom Barometer published by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
Out of 30 European and Central Asian countries included in the barometer, Slovenia took up the 8th position with an overall score of 72.51, up 3.43 from a year earlier, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom said.
The foundation measures freedoms based on 10 main variables applied to three different categories - political freedom, rule of law and economic freedom.
Slovenia scored a perfect 10 out of 10 in the free and fair elections variable of the political freedom category, equal to last year. It earned 9.17 points for absence of unconstitutional veto players and 7.70 for freedom of the press, both equal to last year's scores.
The foundation commented that free and fair elections are commonly held in Slovenia since its independence, while there are no unconstitutional veto players. Freedom of the press, on the other hand, is upheld in practice to a significant degree, it added.
In terms of the rule of law, Slovenia received a score of 5.09 points for independence of the judiciary, up 1.42 from last year. The foundation noted that the judiciary enjoys a mottled record of integrity and independence, but added that citizens perceive it is heavily exposed to political interference.
Despite slow improvement, Slovenia continues to lag behind countries it would like to be compared with regarding corruption purity, the foundation noted. It scored the country 6.10 points for corruption, up 0.10 from last year, adding that besides military procurement and urban development, corruption is also perceived in health care procurement.
Slovenia, however, earned a high score of 8.95 in human rights protection, up 0.12 on the year. The foundation found that most civil liberties in Slovenia are guaranteed and freely enjoyed.
In regard to economic freedom, the foundation gave Slovenia a score of 6.07 for security of property rights, up 0.34, and of 4.37 points for size of government, up 1.44.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation noted that high public debt, low investments, and a lack of privatization program have influenced the country's size of government score.
Slovenia gained 0.11 points since last year in the regulation of credit, labour and business variable, scoring 6.36 points. Regulation of business activities is overall positive towards business activities, the foundation judged, noting, however, that there are still complicated or unclear procedures that fuel administrative costs.
The country's freedom to trade internationally score dropped slightly by 0.10 on the year to 8.70, with trade freedom mostly protected.
Slovenia has been part of the Freedom Barometer since 2016, when it earned 69.08 points.
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