The Development of the Balkan Region
The Balkan region has changed fundamentally under the impact of the interacting forces of integration and transition which are shaping the new European economic landscape. For many countries, the 1990s were a period of serious crisis: this text explores the failure in transition from plan to market. It examines why the Balkan countries have been so different in terms of performance when compared to Central Europe. Why was there such a profound case of failure? Are domestic "policy failures" or unfavourable "initial conditions" and unfavourable geography responsible for this poor performance? In addition, what has been the response of the European Union and what can be done? The volume attempts to answer these questions by providing a comprehensive and comparative account of economic performance and structural adjustment in the Balkan region. The book is in two parts. The first part includes comparative research work on a wide range of analytical and policy issues, while the second part presents a number of case or country studies. Overall, the volume includes 16 articles analyzing the economic performance and structure of the Balkan countries, their trade relations in a sectoral and geographical manner, the evolution and distribution of foreign direct investment, the performance of industry, the level and quality of social and technical infrastructure, the domestic policies of transition and the EU policies for the region. the evidence provided indicates that, should current trends continue in the future, the Balkan region will diverge further from the more advanced European countries, forming a newly expanded and much weaker European periphery. In that respect, mainstream economic thinking of the integration-transition dynamics needs to be re-evaluated, as multi-speed and multi-direction performances generate a more fragmented economic space than the very essence of the European idea may possibly tolerate.