Anti-crisis and anti-recession policies and solutions for Southeast European countries were the key topics of discussion in a forum held in Belgrade and attended by government officials, central bank governors, economists and business leaders. The discussion happened as better regional integration of the Southeast European (SEE) economies is increasingly seen as a necessity amid rising financial and economic crisis in the Eurozone, increasing public debt and unemployment in the region, and dilemmas such as fiscal savings vs. higher spending. “Growth versus austerity is a false dilemma: in Serbia we need both”, said Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, who turned to the participants expecting concrete solutions and measures, not merely more analysis of the economic situation.
Also at the forum, held on Sep. 19 and 20, guest speaker and World Bank Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia, Indermit Gill, summarized key messages of a recent World Bank report – “Golden Growth” - which analyzed key features of the European economic model and what constitutes the “Brand Europe.”
“Our findings show that new EU members that integrated with the EU, normally also as a result integrated more with other parts of the world beyond the EU. Greater EU integration is definitely good for the SEE economies”, Gill said.
On the other hand, one of the weak aspects of the European economic model is that the Southern EU model is less successful in terms of the climate for doing business, social spending of the governments and overall efficiency of institutions, compared to the Northern EU model. “SEE economies should draw lessons and avoid copying mistakes of the weaker type of EU model despite geographical proximity of Southern Europe”, said Gill.