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Visiting Speaker: Dr Fatmir Besimi

The Role of EU Integration in Enhancing Credible Structural Reforms in
the Western Balkans


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Time 6:00 - 7:30pm

Cañada Blanch Room, (COW 1.11),  1st floor, Cowdray House, LSE, London WC2A 2AE 


Dr Fatmir Besimi, Senior Visiting Fellow, LSEE Research on SEE, London School of Economics

Chair Dr Vassilis Monastiriotis, LSEE Research on SEE, London School of Economics

EU integration has represented an important process in terms of economic, political and social transformation in the Western Balkans and its convergence with the European Union. According to empirical evidence and international reform indicators, however, in recent years the pace of structural reforms has slowed down in the Western Balkan countries and the catching-up after the global economic crisis is slower compared to 'new' EU member states. This study aimed to contribute to this policy and academic discussion and to suggest possible policies for accelerating the reform process in the Western Balkans. To do so, we introduced a theoretical framework that explains the mechanisms of policy decisions as set against the constraints of the country’s reform capacity, by taking into consideration the impact of the domestic support to the reforms as a relevant factor for policymakers.  

The model suggests that in a dynamic world with rational expectations, the reform commitments that do not consider the political economy effect will lack credibility and hence the solutions will be sub-optimal and the reform gap larger. Also, depending on the reform preferences of the Government (pro-reform or reform-averse) and country’s reform capacity (high- or low-reform) the optimal policy rules will imply different speed for reforms (‘Reform path’). The model also suggests that the EU can play a role in increasing the credibility and accelerating the structural reforms for countries of the Western Balkans through an increase of the countries' reform capacity and Government reform preferences. The optimal policy rule assumes a credible and consistent reform process, which is transparent and inclusive with clear conditionality, benchmarking and monitoring and at the same time a set of incentives on a country and a regional level in order to increase the leverage from the integration process. The research is expected to produce policy recommendations for policymakers both in the Western Balkan countries and in the European Commission.


FatmirBesimiDr Fatmir Besimi has political, banking and academic experience. He was Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs (2013-2016), Minister of Defence (2011-2013) and Minister of Economy (2004-2006; 2008-2011). Also, he was Vice Governor of the National Bank (2002-2004) and economist at the World Bank (2007-2008) as a continuation of his earlier experience in commercial and central banking (1999-2001). He has teaching experience at the Universities in Skopje and Prishtina and presented several public lectures at international universities including LSE and Harvard Kennedy School. He is author of two books: “Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy of Macedonia: Accession to the European Union” (2009) and “My Notes: Integration beyond Rhetoric” (2015). His research interest during the visiting fellow program at LSEE is about the role of political economy in advancing the European integration of the Western Balkans. He holds PhD in Economics from Staffordshire University, UK.




A complete listing of the 2016-17 Visiting Speaker Programme is available here.




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