Socio-Economic Transformation

Melancholic, Unequal and Devoid of Common Sense

In the course of just several days, two women were murdered in the Centres for Social Work in Belgrade. As usual, almost everyone had an opinion on who bore the brunt of guilt and why, and what was the real cause of the death that occurred in broad daylight in the Serbian capital.

Rumours ran aplenty: some said that one man was a returnee from war; it was then speculated that there were certain ties with local political strongmen; or, some said that the family was poor and thus poverty became a justified reason for the ‘micro-violence’ within our four walls; yet others...

The Western Balkans - A Role for Industrial Policy

Some scholars underline the need to foster industrial development in the Western Balkans. They also highlight the difficulties of such a strategy because of the lack of protectionism – which leads to a rather pessimistic assessment of economic prospects in the region.

In this short note, I recall the importance of manufacturing industries for growth and the renewal of interests for industrial policies. I also indicate that there is room left for active industrial policies in the context of liberalizing economies – what matters is not so much the label ‘industrial...

Poverty in the Balkans

Poverty is a very sensitive and challenging issue in many countries. In the post-war Balkans context, poverty is also a major problem for security and relations between communities. In this note, I briefly discuss the concept of poverty and overview poverty conditions in the region, underlining their complexity, some implications, and the role of international aid in the fight against poverty.

DEFINING POVERTY

Poverty is a rather complex phenomenon combining...

Extending the EU Semester Formula to the Balkans: Will it improve economic governance?

In 2013, the European Commission added economic governance to the fundamentals of the European Union’s (EU) enlargement strategy. The new approach to economic governance was implemented for the first time in 2015 and became fully operational in early 2016. This is a welcome development, but will the new...

Addressing Youth Unemployment in the Balkans

Balkan countries are confronted with high rates of youth unemployment. Such a situation may severely impact on political stability in the region and can cause tensions between communities; in addition, it stimulates illicit activities in the grey economy. Policies are also implemented to support the creation of new jobs; however, so far, outcomes are rather limited.

HIGH LEVELS OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

With the exception of Kosovo, the World Bank data base on youth unemployment (ages 15-24) provides interesting information on Balkan countries, which allows inter-country...

Regional Initiatives in the Balkans and the Economic Development

Since the termination of hostilities in the Balkans, as illustrated by the 1999 Stability Pact, CEFTA 2006 and the SEE 2020 Strategy, there were initiatives to foster new relations between former belligerents, for the sake of peace, reconstruction and recovery.

In this short note, we report key-features and economic outcomes of these initiatives, underlining their importance for the development of the countries in the region and their journey toward the EU.

We also report concerns about the actual economic and social prospects in the region, which could...

A Balkan byway to a big land deal

In 1963, the economist Albert O. Hirschman noted that, in Latin America, many believed that progressive change had prerequisites. Reformers tended to insist that progressive change could only be realised by overcoming certain prerequisites, often with foreign donor advice. Revolutionaries had an easy time ridiculing the reformers’ progressive measures, which were “openly and avowedly antagonistic” towards the status quo, arguing that “a basic transformation of existing power relationships is a prerequisite to adopting and enforcing any measure that threatens the interests and privileges of...

CEFTA and the SEE 2020 Strategy: The Importance of Trade Facilitation

Regional trade within CEFTA is still strongly impeded by time-consuming and costly procedures and formalities, especially when crossing the borders that separate member countries. Trade facilitation may help address and reduce these obstacles – specifically, trade facilitation relates to the simplification and standardization of all formalities and procedures at the borders, which is expected to decrease border-crossing costs and, as a result, it should expand further regional trade.

In that context, the South Eastern Europe 2020 Strategy (SEE 2020) provides a...

Kosovo – A Country in the Making. The Case of Trade Policy

Kosovo is not just a country in transition, it is also a new country, which means that state bodies had to be created, most often from scratch, new laws had to be adopted and enforced, and new policies had to be engineered and implemented – all in a newly established democratic environment, with competing political parties and evolving views about the future of the country. Such drastic changes require time and resources; there might also be “trials and errors” and subsequent adjustments. In that context, trade policy is of prime importance, because it helps Kosovo establish new relations...

Kosovo’s Key-Assets to Address the Challenges of Transition

Kosovo is one of the poorest countries in South Eastern Europe and, like other countries in the region, its liberal and democratic transition is de facto confronted with major challenges. However, despite transition problems, Kosovo does possess three key-assets that could be better mobilized to make the country more prosperous, namely its youth, the large Diaspora and abundant minerals.

THE YOUTH AS HUMAN CAPITAL

Successful experiences of economic growth underline the importance of...

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