Home to 18 million people in the heart of Europe, the Western Balkans have enormous potential to catalyze economic growth through greater market openness. Ongoing regional cooperation efforts aim to address economic challenges such as high rates of unemployment and poverty, issues regarding corruption and upholding the rule of law, and stemming the region’s “brain drain” and resulting labor shortages.

Recent events are also pushing EU leaders to recognize the importance of the Western Balkans to EU security. As a result, there has been a shift towards expediting the enlargement process, including early access to the EU single market and pre-accession funds to support economic reforms and transformative projects.

In this episode, Nonresident Senior Fellow Ilva Tare speaks to the President of American Chamber of Commerce of Serbia Stefan Lazarevic and President of American Chamber of Commerce of Albania Enio Jaco on the region’s business climate. Are international investors attracted by the potential that the region holds as a common market? What are their main challenges, and why call for more cooperation to remove barriers and decrease political polarization?



#BalkansDebrief is an online interview series presented by the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center and hosted by journalist Ilva Tare. The program offers a fresh look at the Western Balkans and examines the region’s people, culture, challenges, and opportunities.

Watch #BalkansDebrief on YouTube and listen to it as a Podcast.


The Europe Center promotes leadership, strategies and analysis to ensure a strong, ambitious and forward-looking transatlantic relationship.

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