European Politics and Institutions

Balkans Forum


The economics of EU enlargement to the Balkans – Pillar or straw?

4 November 2014


This Policy Dialogue reflected on the Balkan economies, and whether the EU’s new enlargement strategy provides the right tools to assist with the necessary reform processes in the region. Over the past decade, EU engagement in the Balkans has provided a stimulus for trade and investments, as well as for financial and banking integration. To date however, none of the Balkan countries aspiring to join the European Union is yet a functioning market economy. In fact, the region has rather been pushed into recession and instability following the onset of the global financial crisis and the severe sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone. As a consequence, the European dream of prosperity and well-being appears to have become increasingly distant for the countries of the region, while their economic weaknesses keep perpetuating. How can this situation be overcome?

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