Catching-up Strategies in CESEE Economies
Edited by Ewald Nowotny, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
7. Unlocking growth potential in the Balkans Boštjan Jazbec and Albulenë Kastrati INTRODUCTION 1 The financial crisis that started in 2008 and whose impact on world financial markets is still unresolved also affected the less developed economies in the CESEE region, formerly known as transition economies. The crisis response of those countries, which have more or less successfully joined the European Union or are intensively involved in the accession process, depended primarily on the extent of the reforms they have been able to introduce during the last 20 years of the transition process. Following in the footsteps of the most successful erstwhile transition economies in terms of their economic development and proximity to euro adoption, today’s less developed economies of the EU region are able to leap over the early stages of the transition process as observed almost 20 years ago. However, it seems that the factors which largely determined the success of the transition process at the time have diminished in importance as it has become obvious that macroeconomic stabilization and financial liberalization are not enough to maintain higher growth rates. The South-Eastern European (SEE) countries1 have been late-comers to the process of EU accession. The region was plagued by political and war conflicts, which slowed down the pace of structural reform. Being geographically landlocked was also unconducive to faster economic revival and higher economic growth. Lying next to Greece, the most problematic of the EU member countries in terms of economic stability and financial fragility in recent...
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