The macroeconomic situation in Southeast European (SEE) countries was characterised by a slowdown in economic activity, soaring unemployment rates and harmful effects on agriculture. The recession in the Eurozone had unfavourable influence upon SEE countries’ foreign direct investment and external demand. However, some countries managed to maintain positive growth.
All countries in the region reported slower GDP growth rates in 2012 compared to 2011. The main deterrent to the economic activity was the crisis in the Eurozone, the major trade partner of SEE countries, which led to a slump in exports in 2012. Low household consumption was another important cause for the sluggish performance of SEE economies.
With 3.8% Kosovo registered the steepest increase in GDP in SEE in 2012, mainly as a result of remittances from emigrants, significant public investments and stable private consumption and public expenditures. The other best performers in the region were Albania with 1.7%, Bulgaria with 0.8% and Montenegro with 0.5%. On the other extreme was Slovenia, whose GDP contracted by 2.3% in 2012.
The average jobless rate in SEE in 2012 was notably above the EU24 (EU excl. Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia) average of 11.08%. The combination of slow economic recovery and tough austerity measures carried out by governments resulted in worsening situation on the labour market in 2012.
Macroeconomic stability varied substantially throughout the region. While Bulgaria and to some extent Romania put significant efforts in that direction, their regional peers Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia failed to secure public debt sustainability last year.
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