Regional issues

Reduced international interest

Albania and all the countries of the former Yugoslavia save Slovenia, face daunting economic challenges. Humanitarian and development assistance reached high levels in the late 1990s, but international attention has moved away from the region. Accession to the EU remains a goal for all these countries, but it remains unclear how long this process will take, especially for the states with weak economies and unresolved political challenges.

Criminal economies

As long as many states in the region continue to be institutionally weak, grey and black economies continue to flourish. The OSCE recognizes this regional problem and has called for regional cooperation among police and customs bodies.

The Balkan states face a tough challenge in dealing with transnational organized crime, which has long and deep roots in the region, and was further bolstered by the wars and instability of the 1990s.

The area continues to remain vulnerable to instability due to enduring links between business, politics and organized crime, according to the report on Crime and its Impact on the Balkans released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in 2008.