The EU’s new Balkan strategy should be viewed as more of a motivational tool than as a real roadmap, even for frontrunners Montenegro and Serbia.
Better transportation, energy, and telecommunications networks would help Western Balkan countries raise productivity and attract more investment, IMF says.
The strategy comes after years of neglecting the region and is expected to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in Southeast Europe.
The European Commission is poised to release a new enlargement strategy which it hopes will push countries from the region to embrace reform and stop democratic backsliding.
China becomes biggest foreign dealmaker in the region, making €7.7bn of acquisitions, up 78%.
Mixed picture in the Western Balkans, with growth in Q3 2017 ranging from 0.2% in Macedonia to a robust 4.7% in Montenegro.