The signs had been positive for the Balkan states until very recently. Not only have countries in the region shown great commitment in pushing through reforms to bring domestic legislation in line with the rest of Europe, but many have also shown exemplary discipline in complying with International Monetary Fund (IMF) austerity measures. All this contributed to the IMF’s forecast last year that growth in the Balkans by 2013 would be three times that of western Europe.
However, the knock-on effect from the rest of the continent has been severe. With the eurozone crisis showing no signs of abating, forecasts for growth in the region have suffered amid fears that, as western Europe further tightens its belt and its major banks shrink outside of their home markets to help beef up capital levels, already low levels of liquidity within the region will drop even further.