European Politics and Institutions

Balkans Forum

Economic governance in the Balkans: Towards a more sustainable path of economic development?

10 November 2016
Matteo Bonomi (Former Programme Assistant at the EPC)

The European Commission’s new approach to economic governance in its enlargement strategy became fully operational at the beginning of 2016. In this paper, Matteo Bonomi focuses on the effectiveness of such a formula in the Balkans, revealing that its track record, despite positive developments in some areas of the region’s governments’ policy-making, is in fact sobering. In terms of economic restructuring and modernisation, the effects of the new approach remain unclear, and there is a need for the EU to support more resolutely positive changes in the region’s analytical and institutional capacities. In this in-depth analysis, Matteo Bonomi provides a detailed insight into the shortcomings of the measures, and discusses future prospects for economic development in the region. Whilst the EU’s new approach has strengthened economic dialogue between the EU and the Balkan countries, he stresses that more specific policy measures aimed at a deeper restructuring of the Balkan economies are needed to assist the countries in overcoming the multiple and complex hurdles that they face today. If the EU cannot deliver, what is at stake is not only the possibility to significantly advance the enlargement process, but to prove that the EU is still capable of using economic relations as a driver for the diffusion of wealth and prosperity.

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