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Twenty Years of Economic Transition in the Balkans: Transition Failures and Development Challenges

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image of Southeastern Europe

This paper seeks to review and evaluate a series of theoretical and policy issues with regards to the process of transition and European accession of the Balkan countries. We begin by reviewing some key aspects of economic structure and performance relating to the processes of transition and integration. We then examine in turn what these aspects imply for the assumptions of theory and policy concerning the speed of transition, the benefits of integration, and the process of convergence, as well as for the policy approach to transition, accession and development that was followed in the Balkans. We conclude that this stock-taking, twenty years since the advent of transition in the Balkans and at a time when the region starts to slowly recover from the effects of the global economic crisis, highlights the need for a radical revision of the growth model of the region and the design of a concrete Development Plan for its future.


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