The US watchdog Freedom House has ranked Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia "partly free" countries, while Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia are deemed "free".
According to Freedom House, "free" countries are those with open political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life and independent media.
"Partly free" countries have limited respect for political rights and civil liberties. The other shortcomings of partly free countries are corruption, poor rule of law, ethnic and religious strife and a political environment with one dominant party, despite a certain degree of pluralism.
While most Balkan countries made no significant movement compared to last year's analysis, Bosnia made progress.
According to the report on Bosnia, its political rights rating improved from 4 to 3 "due to the formation of a central government and the declining role of international representatives in domestic affairs”.
Freedom House reports that this was the seventh year in a row that showed a decline of freedom in the world overall.
While 27 countries showed significant declines, 16 showed notable gains.