Southeast Europe COVID-19 Bulletin No 2: Exit Strategies and Economic Recovery

Steven Blockmans, Erwan Fouéré, Inva Nela, Ornela Liperi, Adnan Ćerimagić, Naim Rashiti, Nora Deshishku, Jovana Marović, Stefan Ristovski, Ardita Vejseli, Angel Mojsovski, Aleksa Ilić, Senem Aydın-Düzgit, Cana Tülüş Türk

In this second bulletin, we review the latest data on the Covid–19 pandemic in the Western Balkans and Turkey, the general easing of restrictions, the economic impact so far and recovery measures. 

It comes a few days after the annual economic policy dialogue between the EU and the Western Balkans as well as Turkey which was devoted to the unprecedented challenges arising from the pandemic. In addition to short term measures being taken by the countries concerned, the participants agreed that this year’s policy guidance will focus on measures providing “an immediate fiscal, economic and social response to mitigate the impact of the pandemic as well as on the transition from these short term to more structural measures to foster the medium term recovery”. This dialogue follows the EUR 3.3 billion package announced by the EU on 29 April to support the Western Balkans in tackling the pandemic and the post-pandemic recovery. 

A reading of the massive economic damage caused by the Covid-19 crisis in the Western Balkans and Turkey and the preventive and response measures taken so far underline the critical importance of the EU’s support (together with that of the EIB) and how much the countries concerned, whose economies are inextricably tied to that of the EU, are dependent on its continued assistance and solidarity for their recovery.