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Study on economic perspectives of Western Balkans presented in Brussels

15 April 2013
More than 100 representatives from economic and academic institutes and think-tanks, as well as from parliaments across the Western Balkans, attended a workshop in Brussels in April to hear the results of a study on 'Economic and European Perspectives of Western Balkan Countries'.

Caption: The panel of speakers at the Brussels meeting included (from left) Aleksandar Damjanovic, Chair of the Parliament of Montenegro's Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget; Andrea Renda, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies; Slavica Penev, author of the study on 'Economic and European Perspectives of Western Balkan Countries' and senior research fellow from the Belgrade Institute of Economic Sciences and Fikret Causevic, from the Sarajevo Faculty of Economics; and Emil Atanasovski, WFD Western Balkans Programme Manager.   

Hosted by the Centre for European Studies in Brussels and WFD, the two-hour presentation (pictured below) highlighted the findings from the study, which sets out the importance that committees of finance and economy play in enabling parliaments across the Western Balkans to scrutinise relevant legislation, and thereby set regulation that better promotes sustainable economic development in the region (click here to view the event's agenda).

The 150-page study, written by Slavica Penev, senior research fellow from the Belgrade Institute of Economic Sciences, considers in detail the chronological development of the economic, legal and regulatory environment of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo*. It considers their relative strengths and weaknesses in five key areas: macroeconomic stability; the business environment and competitiveness; regulatory reform; progress with EU integration; and parliaments’ role in economic and regulatory reform. It is the first time that a comparative overview of how far the reform process has progressed in each country has been published. 

The study’s publication, supported by the UK’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy, is part of a wider initiative by the Network of Committees of Economy and Finance of the Western Balkan Countries. This regionally- led network, formed in 2009, seeks to strengthen regional parliamentary cooperation on economic regulatory reform and to idenitfy and implement regional solutions to overcoming the economic crisis, and speed up EU integration.

WFD is supporting the Network through a three-year programme, from 2012-15, to strengthen the role of parliaments in the Western Balkans in promoting competitiveness and economic growth. 
The workshop in Brussels is one of a series of events to highlight the findings of the study. The next workshop is scheduled to be held at The London School of Economics on 7 May 2013. For more information about this event please email WFD's Head of Programmes for Europe Alex Romaniuc.

For more information about WFD's programme in Europe, as well as previous news about the study and other activities please click here.