Challenges and Prospects
Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 4: South-East Europe: opportunities and potential for investment and growth
1 Elisabetta Falcetti, Peter Sanfey and Sladjana Tepic 1. INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW The year 2004 is a signiﬁcant landmark in the transition process. Not only does it mark the 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it is also the year when eight countries of Central Europe and the Baltics (CEB) joined the European Union (EU).2 For these countries, the transition to a market economy is not yet over, but full EU membership is a clear sign that many of the diﬃculties and hurdles associated with transition have been successfully overcome. Can this success be replicated in another part of the transition region – South-East Europe (SEE) – where the next wave of accession is expected in the coming years? This chapter examines the prospects for eight transition countries in SEE: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, and Serbia and Montenegro. We argue that these countries have the potential over the medium-term to grow rapidly and to become an increasingly attractive investment destination in the run-up to further EU expansion. This chapter outlines several reasons for cautious optimism about the future of SEE. Overall, our judgement is based on the clear and unmistakeable progress that the region has made since the late 1990s. Notwithstanding diﬃculties and occasional setbacks, it is now a region of opportunity and potential. Some of the recent progress in SEE has been remarkable. Politically, the most signiﬁcant change has been the re-integration of Serbia and...
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