Report Title: Economic Transition in the Western Balkans: An Assessment 
Rapporteur: Richard BENYON (United Kingdom)
Year: 2017

Over the past 15 years, the countries of the Western Balkans have undergone a very difficult and, in several cases, only partial transition from socialist toward market economies and from overtly authoritarian toward more plural governance systems. They have done so under exceedingly difficult conditions characterised by political, ethnic and sectarian tensions and war, redrawn borders, the emergence of new states and new institutions, and persistent problems of poor governance and corruption, political instability, and opportunist interventions by outside powers. Several of these states today might be characterised as illiberal democracies effectively captured by a small groups of people who control their country’s media, public institutions and large swathes of the economy. The region is clearly burdened by a conflict heritage, ongoing regional instability and a persistent sense of insecurity arising out of that heritage which helps perpetuate this illiberal democratic order (Stojanovic).

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