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Deciphering the Formulation of Greek Economic Diplomacy Towards the Western Balkans

Project Coordinator and Principal Researcher: Dr Nikolaos Tzifakis

Duration: September 2020 - August 2021


Although the economic crisis caused a decline in Greece’s influence in the Western Balkans, Athens attempted since 2016 to resolve bilateral differences and to re-emerge as a regional actor. While trade transactions have returned to pre-crisis levels, both the flow and stock of Greek FDIs in the region have kept decreasing. Beyond the impact of the economic crisis (e.g. departure of Greek banks from the region), Greek businesses have been confronted with a more challenging environment due to the slowdown of EU enlargement and the rise in influence of non-Western external actors, and domestic trends such as democratic backsliding, state capture and deterioration in the rule of law.

This project will map out state and non-state economic linkages between Greece and the six Western Balkan non-EU member-states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia). It will explore how the preferences of different state agencies and private actors maintaining these linkages are taken into account and impact upon the formulation of the Greek state’s economic diplomacy priorities. It will also examine how Greek state and non-state actors perceive international constraints to their activities, consisting of adverse systemic, regional and domestic factors and trends. The aim is not to assess the effectiveness of Greek economic diplomacy, but to delve into the process of the Greek national preferences’ articulation in order to see whether and how different sectoral preferences are communicated and processed. In this way, the project aspires to make recommendations for the optimization of Greek foreign policy decision-making.

Project Outputs

- The Policy Brief is available here.

- Read the Research Paper of the project, which was published as part of the GreeSE working paper series, GreeSE Paper No.169


- The preliminary findings of the Research Project were presented at an online Research Seminaron Tuesday 1 March 2022.
Read more about the event here.
- Watch the video.

Blog Articles

- Read the blog post Streamlining Greek Economic Diplomacy towards the Western Balkans 


Research Team

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Project Coordinator and Principal Researcher: Nikolaos Tzifakis, Associate Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science & International Relations, University of the Peloponnese

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Researcher: Ritsa Panagiotou, Senior Research Fellow, Centre of Planning and Economic Research, Athens