Challenges and Prospects
Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 1: South-East Europe: signs of catching up
Michael A. Landesmann INTRODUCTION The 1990s was a decade in which South-East Europe (SEE)1 fell dramatically behind the more advanced transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia – we shall call them the CEE-5). The cause was, of course, the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, which included a succession of wars, regional conﬂicts and economic and political disintegration. Even the countries of the region which were not directly involved in these conﬂicts, such as Bulgaria and Romania, suﬀered signiﬁcantly in terms of interrupted trade routes and the disintegration and collapse of a neighbouring economic region. Since 2000 things have improved. The growth of GDP in SEE over the most recent period (2000–2004) has even been higher than in the CEE-5; and in quite a few of the countries the most recent growth rates have been in the region of 5–7 per cent (Table 1.1). There has even been some signiﬁcant improvement in industrial production in SEE with the exception of Macedonia and Serbia over that period (see Table 1.2). Hence a catchingup process has started, and in all the contributions to this book on this issue, a positive tone as to the prospects of the SEE region has been adopted. Table 1.1 provides the information regarding GDP levels in the years 2000 and 2004 in relation to 1990 (ϭ100). It shows that with the exception of Albania, only some of the SEE economies had rebounded to their 1990...