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2012 Panel Discussion

Saved By the Banks? Growth Challenges & Investment Initiatives in the Balkans


Thursday, 22 November 2012


Thai Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE


Dr Anthony Bartzokas, Alternate Board Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Professor Ivo Bićanić, Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb

Mr Olav Reinertsen, Head of the Western Balkans Investment Framework Secretariat


Dr Vassilis Monastiriotis, LSEE Acting Director; Senior Lecturer, LSE

Investment in the BalkansPrompted by the fiscal and economic difficulties that the global and Eurozone crisis has transmitted to the SEE region, on 22 November 2012 we organised a panel discussion on “Growth Challenges and Investment Initiatives in the Balkans”, hosting three excellent speakers, with deep expertise on the SEE economies and on the role of International Financing Institutions for economic development.

Opening the round of presentations, Dr Anthony Bartzokas, Alternate Board Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), offered a highly informative review of the past growth record and prospective growth challenges for the Balkan countries, as a background analysis of his presentation, which was on the rationale and structure of the “New IFI Action Plan for Growth”. [presentation|]

Investment in the Balkans7The second speaker, Professor Ivo Bićanić, Professor of Economics at the University of Zagreb, focused his presentation on a range of internal problems – structural, institutional as well as cultural-that possibly account for the slow economic recovery of the region. Among them, he identified the high-&-fast profit expectations mentality (coined as the “Linda Evangelista syndrome”), an entrepreneurial deficit (with business activity being necessity-rather than opportunity-driven), and a culture of aid– and FDI-dependence (“Mannas from Heaven”). [presentation|]

Investment in the Balkans2The last presentation, by Mr Olav Reinertsen, Head of Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) secretariat within the European Commission’s DG Enlargement, focused on the financial instruments and the structure of support that is provided to the recipient countries. [presentation|]

Following the presentations, the discussion opened up, first with some questions from LSEE’s Dr Vassilis Monastiriotis, who was chairing the event, and then with a Q&A session with the audience.



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