Socio-Economic Transformation

The Challenges of Transition in Kosovo

Fifteen years after separating from Serbia and despite considerable foreign aid, Kosovo is still confronted with serious economic, social and institutional challenges; they include inter alia trade deficits, fiscal problems, the quality of governance, unemployment and poverty. Findings underline the complexity of the liberal and democratic transition, for which much time is required to overcome the legacies of the past and build a new, more unified and richer country.

       Kosovo in perspective

Kosovo is a very small country – it has a...

The EU’s Energy Union – An Opportunity for the Western Balkans

Policymakers and pundits in the Western Balkans should take note as energy has once more come into the spotlight in Brussels.  On  February 25th the European Commission unveiled its blueprint for an Energy Union, an instrument intended to both deepen integration and bolster EU’s bargaining power vis-à-vis external suppliers such as Russia’s Gazprom.  While the final version falls short of the ambitious ...

The new kid on the block: a short intro to the China-WB relationship

On its way to becoming a global power the influence of China is increasingly being felt worldwide. China not only plays a transformative role in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America but has also caused the American pivot to the Pacific while being Europe’s most significant economic partner amidst the global financial crisis. In the last several years, China  has come in unprecedented ways to the Western Balkans (WB) as well. Miniscule in size and power, the countries in the region have yet to learn about China and contemplate their position in the new global landscape.

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Structural weaknesses of the Western Balkan economies

Bleak economic prospects

Until the strong impact of the global economic crisis, the Western Balkan countries registered relatively high growth rates, declining inflation, rapid expansion of foreign trade and increasing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Many important economic reforms, required by the transition to market economy, have also been implemented successfully. Ongoing political, legal and economic reforms, which were sustained by the EU Stabilization and Association Process (SAP), offered Western Balkan countries trade preferences, financial...

Reinventing Competitiveness

During the past few years, the European Commission initiated numerous programs with the goal of successfully reforming the legal and institutional framework related to competitiveness in the Western Balkan region. These changes have often been counter-effective in certain areas, which has been negative on the overall business environment, for instance unpredictability, legal uncertainty, increased regulatory risk, and a number of other issues resulted in higher costs of conducting business. Such a situation is, inter alia, a consequence of the weak use of analysis in the process of...

Leave us the worst and dullest!

The “global cold war for talent” is at its peak. Developed countries are introducing innovative developments to attract “the best and the brightest” from around the world, while developing countries are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of human capital for their development, and are putting in efforts to retain their most educated citizens within the country’s boundaries. Unfortunately, the countries of the Western Balkans, not surprisingly, behave as if they are not aware of the worldwide race for talent, and put almost no effort into either retaining their highly skilled...

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