Balkans: two decades of peace have not attracted FDI

Tirana, Albania: in contrast to Central Europe, Albania hasn’t seen a foreign investment boom since joining Nato (photo: dpa)
Tirana, Albania: in contrast to Central Europe, Albania hasn’t seen a foreign investment boom since joining Nato (photo: dpa)

A quarter of a century since the fall of Communism, the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – remain among the most underdeveloped parts of Europe. The absence of foreign direct investment (FDI) has hobbled the transition of these six countries from central planning to a free market economy. This situation poses geostrategic risks to the European Union.

The Western Balkans are situated only a one-hour flight from Vienna or Rome. The region sits at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, at the intersection of pan-European transport corridors Nr 8 and Nr 10, between four seas and two gigantic gas pipeline projects. It has also be...

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