EBRD for the Western Balkans: The region is at a crossroads, governance in Albania after 2018 has deteriorated

2024-02-27 12:52:25Fokus SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

The last EBRD summit held yesterday in London was accompanied by a detailed report on the countries of the Western Balkans. Although it was clearly pointed out during the discussion panels that these countries need 70 years to reach the welfare of the EU, what is seen in the detailed report is the deterioration that has come from the governments of the countries of the region, including and the Albanian government.

According to the report, living standards in the Western Balkans are far behind the EU countries.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the report "Can the Western Balkans converge towards EU living standards?" stated that the improvement of governance in Albania and the Region can be an efficient tool to increase well-being and push forward the pace of convergence to reach EU standards.

According to the EBRD, improving the quality of governance can help change demographic trends, especially in Albania. The region has taken steps backwards in governance standards in recent years, widening the gap with peer countries in the EU and elsewhere.

The EBRD notes that the GDP gap between the BB-6 and the EU has narrowed over the past two decades, but the pace of convergence has slowed since the global crisis of 2008-09. According to recent growth trends, it could take 70 years or more before the EU-6 reaches the welfare states of the EU. Therefore, the main question is: What can be done to accelerate the rate of convergence? And EBRD experts think that Reforms can make a difference.

EBRD for the Western Balkans: The region is at a crossroads, governance in

Everyone agrees that more needs to be done to make a more stable and well-functioning market economy. But which reforms are likely to prove most effective in accelerating convergence? Specifically, convergence may have been accelerated by:

better governance,

fostering cross-border ties and

promoting the green economy.

The EBRD notes that the underlying problem in the 6 countries of the Western Balkans is low productivity, which has accumulated from under-investment in the economy, weak institutions and, more recently, unfavorable demographics and a difficult business environment.

“There is a palpable sense of frustration across the region with the slow pace of reform and slowing convergence towards the EU since the global financial crisis of 2008-09. Therefore, the fundamental question facing policy makers in the region and international partner institutions is how to revitalize the achievement process," the report concludes.

"Improving governance would not only allow the economy to function more efficiently and effectively, but it would also make people live better and thus give incentives to young people to stay in the region and not emigrate reducing the serious demographic problems faced by all countries".

According to the EBRD, further opening of economies, improvement of cross-border infrastructure and reduction of border barriers would make the region more competitive and innovative, and more attractive to foreign investment. And going green, phasing out fossil fuels and harnessing the region's huge potential for renewable energy sources, would bring huge health benefits (reducing pollution) and strengthen resilience to future global energy shocks.

By the end of 2023, the region is at a crossroads, with an uncertain future, the report says, thus requesting a careful policy of the governments of the region, especially in crediting projects with high feasibility. / VoxNews