Freedom House: Bulgaria Ranked as 'Free', but Gets EU's 2nd Worst ResultSociety | February 1, 2017, Wednesday // 14:45| views
Bulgaria ranks as "Free" according to Freedom in the World 2017, Freedom House’s annual report on political rights and civil liberties.
However, the country has been given 80 points, the lowest score after Hungary (76) among EU member states. Neighboring members Greece and Romania get 84 points each (100 being the best result), while the newest member Croatia has 87 points. Freedom House also recalls in its report Bulgaria's status as Partly Free in the Freedom of the Press report published last spring.
Among non-EU Western Balkan states, Serbia has the best score (76), and Kosovo (52) has the worst one. Serbia is the only one ranked as "Free", the others being "Partly Free".
Bulgaria's southwestern neighbour Macedonia has 57 points. To the east, Turkey has just 38 points.
Of the 195 countries assessed, 87 (45%) were rated “Free,” 59 (30%) “Partly Free,” and 49 (25%) “Not Free.”
"Populist and nationalist forces made significant gains in democratic states in 2016, while authoritarian powers engaged in brazen acts of aggression," reads the press release announcing the report's main findings.
"The report finds 2016 to mark the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom," a total of 67 countries having suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2016 and only 36 having registered gains.
Last year "it was established democracies that dominated the list of countries suffering setbacks," report co-author Arch Puddington is quoted as saying.
Freedom House also warns that one-fourth of the countries that curtailed their political rights and civil liberties in 2016 were in Europe.
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