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European Economic Integration and South-East Europe

European Economic Integration and South-East Europe

Challenges and Prospects

Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald

With both transition dynamics and the EU integration process having shifted to the south-east of Europe, a region fairly marginalized in the literature, this book fills a gap by taking stock of where South-East Europe’s economies and institutions stood in 2004. The authors evaluate the potential for investment and growth within the South-East European region, including the role of trade and FDI, and discuss the challenges associated with unemployment, poverty and ‘brain drain’. The book also provides insights into the particular monetary and exchange rate policies applied, including cases of ‘euroization’, and finally makes an assessment, against this background, of the European perspective of the countries of South-East Europe.

Chapter 19: Unemployment in theWestern Balkans: a synoptic diagnosis

Kalman Mizsei and Nicholas Maddock

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


19. Unemployment in the Western Balkans: a synoptic diagnosis Kalman Mizsei and Nicholas Maddock INTRODUCTION This chapter examines the level and characteristics of unemployment in the Western Balkan.1 The hypotheses as to why unemployment in the region is so high are reviewed and gaps in the analysis of, and data on, unemployment and related matters in the Western Balkans are identified. All the Western Balkan countries have aspirations to membership of the European Union (EU), with Croatia likely to be the first to accede. Having formally applied for membership in February 2003, it became a candidate country in April 2004.2 Macedonia also applied for membership (in March 2004), while the other Western Balkan countries are participating in the so-called Stabilisation and Association Process.3 This is analogous to the preparatory process for membership pursued by the European Commission in the formerly socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) which joined the EU in 2004, as well as in Romania and Bulgaria (which are expected to accede in 2007).4 In broad terms, it involves a contractual process which is tailor-made to each country and based on agreed criteria and goals which aim to ensure that prospective candidate countries pursue EU-compatible practices in political, economic and sectoral reform.5 As such, it is a precursor to a detailed review of compliance with the acquis communautaire and the ensuing design and implementation of a programme of actions necessary for accession (which, in total, comprise the so-called negotiations for membership). Prospective candidate countries...

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