according to freedom house

The most recent report by the freedom house gives a detailed assessment of the conditions of freedom in countries across Europe. The report details a variety of issues that affect freedom, such as media independence, corruption, and the atmosphere of civil society. Some countries have improved, while others have deteriorated, and some are struggling to maintain their high standing. The report highlights the situation in Serbia, which received lower marks than in 2020.

Serbia received lower marks than in 2020 in the areas of media independence, the fight against corruption and the atmosphere in which civil society operates

Serbia’s political system is characterized by the dominance of one party, the Serbian Progressive Party, which won 188 of the 199 parliamentary seats and a majority in the provincial elections. The main opposition parties, however, opted to boycott the election. The OSCE mission noted that the ruling party had a strong presence in the media and that the election was conducted without a level playing field. However, the local Open Society Foundation organized a structured dialogue to address these concerns, involving political parties from all sides and civil society.

Despite a number of problems, Serbia’s elections were peaceful and free. Observers reported that the authorities imposed strict regulations on the voting process. For example, polling stations were required to be disinfected before people could vote. In addition, voting stations had a limit on the number of people allowed inside. Still, there were complaints of lack of observance of these regulations.

The political control over the Prosecutor’s Office is also pronounced, as politically sensitive cases involving high-ranking officials do not advance to litigation. One prominent case of this sort, known as the “Savamala” case, involved masked men razing the city center of Belgrade. Another case involved political corruption and illegal arms trade by a state-owned defense manufacturer. Despite this, Serbia continues to improve its legal framework for fighting corruption.

Serbia is generally well-regarded by its citizens. The constitution and judicial system are widely accepted, although the majority of citizens do not fully trust the government and the parliament. The national parliament is partially compromised by partisanship, and 243 of its 250-members are affiliated to the ruling party. The restitution of private property has not been completed, and only seven hundred hectares of land and seven thousand objects were returned to their rightful owners. Additionally, pecuniary compensations are not forthcoming, resulting in a number of legal disputes.

Serbia is also lacking in the areas of human rights and freedom of expression. The country’s criminal code contains provisions for the abuse of office in private companies. These have led to the freezing of the assets of many companies and individuals. This undermines the credibility of the rule of law in Serbia.

Iceland was demoted from a score of 100 in 2014 to 94 in 2020 and 2021

Iceland has a history of upholding civil liberties and political rights. However, the country still has concerns about the links between elected representatives and business interests and the concentration of private media ownership. In September 2016, the country held parliamentary elections. These polls were deemed free and fair by most observers. The governing coalition is composed of the Independence Party, the Left-Green Movement and the Progressive Party. The parties have renewed their coalition agreement after several weeks of negotiations. The Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir will remain in her position.

Iceland has a constitutional right to freedom of religion. Approximately 60 percent of Icelanders are Evangelical Lutheran. Immigration is allowed, but there are restrictions on noncitizens. In addition, the directorate of immigration has been accused of excessive force during deportations. Immigrants also face challenges to finding employment in the country due to language barriers. Up until recently, noncitizens were banned from working in the public sector.

Iceland’s reputation as a democratic country took a knock after recent revelations of shady banking practices and a former Prime Minister’s involvement in the Panama Papers. It was also hit by the scandals involving Iceland’s largest fishery. Despite these setbacks, the country’s political culture remains unaltered.

While Iceland remains a stable parliamentary democracy, there are several challenges that the country needs to address in the coming years. Recent challenges include inappropriate links between the government and business, the consolidation of the media, and the conditions of immigrants. In November, the Icelandic Coast Guard mechanics staged a strike. Despite a government response, they continued to negotiate to resolve their dispute.

Iceland’s parliament has a unicameral structure with 63 members. Members are elected to serve four-year terms. The last election, held in 2017, was the third in four years. A scandal involving former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson caused Iceland’s governing coalition to dissolve. After a series of coalition talks, the Icelandic Progressive Party formed a new government that won 16 seats. In September, the Icelandic Parliament renewed this coalition for another term.

Although the elections were deemed free and fair, there were several irregularities and challenges in the process. In one electoral district, the results were extremely close. This forced a recount in the northwest electoral district, resulting in the loss of five candidates to five other candidates. This recount was controversial due to flaws in the election process. For example, officials in the northwest electoral district failed to seal ballots after the initial count. However, parliament confirmed the validity of the recount in November.

Iceland’s decline is due to repression

Iceland’s democratic record and tradition of protection of civil and political rights have earned it a place among the most free societies in the world. However, current challenges include media consolidation and inappropriate links between business and politicians. Immigrant conditions are also a problem. The country also launched a voluntary contact tracing app and a law protecting whistleblowers and others who report abuses.

In June 2019, a Turkish hacker orchestrated a distributed denial-of-service attack on several Icelandic websites. However, the country’s ICT market is diverse and independent. Service providers offered free additional bandwidth to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Iceland’s top-level domain registry ISNIC operates an independent Internet exchange point.

Denmark has reduced cash welfare benefits for refugees

The rightwing government of Denmark recently announced a significant cut to asylum seeker benefits. Beginning in September, new benefits for asylum seekers will be reduced to five thousand nine hundred and forty five kroner a month, or just over $1,200 a month. The cuts will apply to both single parents and those without children who arrived from non-EU countries.

The Danish government says the move is intended to deter further migration. Refugees have been flooding Europe in record numbers since World War II. A spokesperson for the Danish People’s Party supports the new law, which will also triple the waiting time for family reunification.

Denmark’s decision follows a trend of European governments adopting tough asylum policies. Advocates of refugees fear that Denmark’s move may be a harbinger of things to come. Increasingly, European nations are calibrating their policies around the reduction of armed conflict and the ongoing human rights abuses in the al-Assad regime.

The government’s decision to restrict asylum claims is the toughest approach in recent years. The decision was justified by the decline in armed conflict in Syria and the release of a report by the Danish refugee council and immigration service. However, the decision is a propaganda coup for the Syrian government, which described the decision as a political victory.

Denmark received nearly 15,000 asylum seekers last year, almost doubling its number from 2013 and 2014. The number has grown as more Syrian refugees have made the journey to Europe. The government has refused to provide any specific information about the number of refugees deported to other countries. In addition to reducing cash benefits, the Danish government has also banned asylum seekers from receiving a loan from relatives.

Chelsea Glover