Janusz Bugajski and Milena Staneva:
Economic Cooperation and Investment Promotion in Southeast Europe
The western part of the Balkan Peninsula stands at an important crossroads between the past and the future. The one remaining statehood issue between Kosovo and Serbia is rapidly approaching resolution by international actors.
As a consequence, it is now clear that economic progress through domestic reform, regional collaboration, foreign business investment, and eventual European Union accession are the most important challenges and opportunities facing the entire region.
On October 5-6, 2006, the New European Democracies Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Southeast Europe Economic Development Foundation (SEED), and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) hosted an international conference aimed at refocusing attention on the West Balkan region in the next stage of its development. The conference underscored that it is imperative to promote self-sustained regional growth and that this effort will depend on the policies implemented by individual Balkan capitals. The conference focused on four major sets of issues that are fundamental to the region's progress: the political and legal framework, infrastructure development, trade barriers and opportunities, and the business environment and investment promotion.
A number of valuable proposals and recommendations were generated by the conference in several key areas with the objective to spur economic growth and investor confidence. Three of the larger recommendations will prove the most significant as they help frame the process and progress of economic development.
This publication is based on panelist presentations and taskgroup deliberations, supplemented by additional research by CSIS staff. It should be noted, however, that the opinions and recommendations expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of the conference panelists.