No country of the Western Balkans - included Serbia e Montenegro, considered later than the others on the path to membership - will be able to satisfy the EU membership criteria before 2030, according to a study by the research institute "The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies"(WIIW).
The analysis published in view of the EU-Balkans summit in Sofia highlights how meeting the demands of the EU from the Western Balkan countries requires more than 7 years; according to the forecast, we will therefore go beyond the 2025, or the date set by the European Commission. This is because countries like Bosnia, where there is a strong ethnic division, could even serve 23 years to fully meet the EU membership criteria.
The base scenario envisages that Montenegro will reach the level of governance required to join the EU in around 12 years, followed by Serbia in 13 years, Albania in 15 years, Kosovo in 18 years, Macedonia in 21 years and the Bosnia in 23 years. In a second scenario, more optimistic, Montenegro could reach the criteria that had Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania at the time of their accession in just three years; the other countries, instead, would need 10-13 years, while Bosnia of 17.
The situation in Albania
Albania, whose application for the 24 June 2014 has been accepted, hopes to start official negotiations for membership in the next June summit among EU member countries, after the positive recommendation of the European Commission a few weeks ago. The final decision, however, still remains uncertain, as some states - like Germany e France - continue to remain skeptical about the issue.
Albania and other Western Balkan countries must address their governance and infrastructure deficits, as well as expand their industrial bases in order to drive sustained economic convergence that meets EU criteria:
"The Balkan region must update and expand its industrial base. Production represents only a small percentage of GDP, which is in effect an obstacle to productivity growth, innovation and employment " - reads the report of the Vienna Institute.
In this regard it is expected that the economy of the six Balkan countries will grow by around 3,2% a year between the 2018 and the 2020: a rate which, according to the World Bank forecast, will lead these countries to reach the average income of the EU in about sixty years.
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