By Costin Buradu
Romania is the top performer among 10 countries of Southeast Europe (SEE) in terms of economic freedom, the Fraser Institute said in its 2017 annual report on economic freedom in the world, the seenews.com platform online informs.
Five SEE countries improved their scores compared to last year's edition, while five were ranked lower, according to the report published on the website of the Canada-based think-tank.
The ranking measures the degree of economic freedom in five broad areas - size of government: expenditures, taxes, and enterprises; legal structure and security of property rights; access to sound money; freedom to trade internationally; and regulation of credit, labour, and business. The 2017 issue of the Economic Freedom report is based on data for 159 countries for 2015, the most recent year of available comparable statistics, the Fraser Institute said.
Romania was 20th in the overall ranking, up two places from last year's edition of the report. The country's high score was largely due to its good performance in terms of freedom to trade and credit market regulations, which outweighed the results of the subindex designed to measure the extent to which regulations and bureaucratic procedures are affecting business and competition.
Bulgaria ranked 48th, down from the 45nd spot it occupied in the 2016 edition of the report due to unimpressive performance in the legal structure and security of property rights area.
Slovenia climbed to the 73th spot, from the 97th place, recording the largest advance among SEE countries in terms of ranking. However, the country scored poorly in terms of size of government - the area which shows the share of government consumption in a country's budget. When that ratio is high, political choice is substituted for personal choice, Fraser Institute explained.
Slovenia's score was also low in terms of regulation of credit, labour, and business. Those ratings show that the country's regulations restrict entry into markets and interfere with the freedom to engage in voluntary exchange, hence they reduce economic freedom. On the positive side, the country scored relatively high at its legal structure.
Montenegro fell to the 85th from the 59th place, marking the largest drop among SEE countries in terms of ranking, mainly due to size of government, legal system and credit market regulations.
The Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report is the world’s premier measurement of economic freedom, ranking countries based on five areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labour and business. This year’s report compares 159 countries and territories. In this year’s ranking, which is based on 2015 data, Hong Kong is again number one, Canada dropped to 11th from the 5th spot last year and is tied with the United States.
The Fraser Institute is an independent, non-partisan research and educational organization based in Canada. Fraser Institute has offices in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.