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Economic Developments in the Balkan Countries and the Role of Greece: From Bilateral Relations to the Challenge of Integration


  • Christodoulakis, Nikos
  • Petrakos, George


Throughout the post-war period Greece has faced a unique, and unfavourable, situation consisting of: (i) a perimetric location away from major European markets; and (ii) distorted economic relations as its northern borders were designed to be real barriers to communication and trade with neighbouring countries. This type of border conditions have adversely affected the structure and performance of the economy and its prospects for convergence. This paper examines the post-1989 developments in the Balkan region from a Greek perspective. Growth rates, development levels, economic structures, trade relations, factor movements and the spatial structure of the region are examined on a comparative basis, in order to detect major trends and developments that are taking place, as a result of an unprecedented integration-transition process. On the basis of the analysis, it is concluded that Greece can overcome isolation and effectively deal with the pressures and difficulties of European integration, by pursuing a strategy that will gradually recompose the economic space in its vicinity, with the creation of a large and accessible regional Balkan market. The appropriate policy mix should include, among other things, steady and energetic encouragement to all Balkan countries, to join in the future the European Union and the promotion of a EU-strategic development plan for the Balkan region, with the active participation of Greece and special emphasis on issues of intra-regional cooperation and integration.

Suggested Citation

  • Christodoulakis, Nikos & Petrakos, George, 1997. "Economic Developments in the Balkan Countries and the Role of Greece: From Bilateral Relations to the Challenge of Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 1620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1620

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    Cited by:

    1. George Petrakos, 2001. "Fragmentation or Integration in the Balkans? Strategies of Development for the 21st Century," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 3, pages 3-17.
    2. Lefteris Topaloglou & George Petrakos, 2006. "The New Economic Geography of the Northern Greek Border Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa06p456, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Yannis M. Ioannides & George Petrakos, 2000. "Regional Disparities in Greece and the Performance of Crete, Peloponnese and Thessaly," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0008, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    4. George Petrakos & Georgios Fotopoulos & Dimitris Kallioras, 2012. "Peripherality and integration: industrial growth and decline in the Greek regions," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(2), pages 347-361, April.
    5. Vassilis Monastiriotis & Achilleas Tsamis, 2007. "Greece’s new Balkan Economic Relations: policy shifts but no structural change," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 01, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.

    More about this item


    Economic Development; Economic Integration; Migration; Regional Development Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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