Comment 09 Jan 17

Balkans 2017: Economies Will Grow Despite Political Tensions

Most Balkan states will be slightly better off at the end of this year than they were at the beginning - despite the best efforts of the political class to keep tensions on the boil.

Marcus Tanner
BIRN
London
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Pixabay

What does Santa have in store for the Balkan countries this year? Some good presents - but some bad ones, too. Economies look like gathering speed in 2017 as growth in the Eurozone slowly picks up and as domestic consumption rises.

Less welcome events in store start with the possibility of civil conflict within some countries – Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro – as well as worsening relations between some other countries – Kosovo and Serbia, and Serbia and Croatia, for a start.

Growing Russian influence could prove a divisive factor, too, pleasing some countries – Serbia – while alarming others, like Romania.

Two cheers for economy

There is cause for modest cheer about the region’s economies in 2107. Most banks are forecasting growth rates of around 3 per cent in Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Romania.

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