Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Despite progress and reforms in many fields, Albania still faces major challenges including crime, endemic corruption, weak law enforcement and lack of infrastructure. The judicial system is still perceived to be slow, inefficient, lacking in transparency and pervaded by corruption.
In the Republic of Armenia, the constitution provides for an independent judiciary. But in practice, courts are vulnerable to political pressure.
The Bulgarian government undertook significant reforms to the economy in the 1990s, including within the tax system, resulting in strengthened growth. In 2007, Bulgaria joined the European Union and recent years have seen surpluses, growth in GDP and heightened investment.
After emerging from years of war in the Balkans, and following almost a decade of accession talks, Croatia became the second nation in the former Yugoslavia to join the European Union as its 28th member in 2013.
Among the least developed economies in Asia, Kyrgyzstan has been hampered by weak state institutions and a security environment that is not immune to ethnic tensions and social unrest.
Despite recent progress, Moldova is still the poorest country in Europe, and its economy relies heavily on agriculture and needs to attract investment. The public perception of corruption among civil servants, including those serving in the judiciary, is very high.
Independent since 2006, Montenegro is one of only two states (the other is Macedonia) to have separated peacefully from what used to be Yugoslavia. The largely coastal republic has the advantage of a tourism-oriented economy.
After the fall of the communist regime in 1989, Romania joined the European Union (EU) in 2007.
Once the poorest of the former Soviet republics, Tajikistan still lags behind its neighbors, with the sole exception of Afghanistan. The country recently became a full-fledged member of the WTO and the government is eager to attract more investments from abroad.