Economic integration with the EU is key to the future of the Western Balkans

27/09/2020 - 07:01

Twenty years of the European Union trying to drive political reconciliation in the Western Balkans through regional economic integration has delivered disappointing results, according to a recent study carried out by the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) and Bertelsmann Stiftung.

According to the study argues that increased economic regional integration has done little to impact the most serious constitutional and territorial disputes in the Western Balkans and that further integration is unlikely to drive the solutions of these issues on its own. Instead, the authors argue that deeper integration with the EU itself should be pursued.

However, the fact that the results of regional integration have not been fully satisfactory does not mean it should stop or that the EU strategy for the Western Balkans had been totally wrong.

“The strategy has not been wrong in purely economic terms – economies in the Western Balkans have integrated more with each other over the last 20 years, especially with trade (less so investment). The problem is that the EU hoped greater economic integration would make a big contribution to solving outstanding constitutional and territorial issues, and obviously that has not happened,” says Richard Grieveson, deputy director at wiiw and one of the authors of the study.

Sursa: Emerging Europe

#europa #EU #politicalreconciliation #economic

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2020 Oct