East Connectivity Series

Western Balkans is in the crossroads between different connectivity initiatives. Under EU Connectivity Agenda and under the aegis of Berlin Process, the EU and Western Balkans 6 countries are designing, implementing and operating an array of transport vectors and energy transmission grids. Regional markets are opening to each other and to the EU. European companies are investing in local suppliers and building up their value chain in the region.

Other actors are making forays in the region as well. China through the Belt and Road Initiative and 17+1 CA has seen the biggest increase of FDI in the Balkans in those last years, and a remarkable involvement in infrastructure. Japan has announced Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative and announced a sizeable budget. Russia, Turkey and other actors are also involved in infrastructure projects, FDI or other soft-measures.

In its focus on multi-dimensional Connectivity, CDI is monitoring and analysing all those initiatives, actors, methodologies and impact in the region.

Our goal is to push for better preparation of WB institutions and other Balkan stakeholders when negotiating with 3rd party actors. Project identification, clearer rules of engagement, regional coordination approach, exchange of experiences amongst Balkan countries, strengthening of WB6 institutional capacities, participation in different bilateral mechanisms, more and better communication, and greater attention to the language and discourse of each partner, are areas that WB countries must work on to get the best possible deals for their citizen.

The objective is to raising awareness and scaling-up attention to the impact of connectivity in WB6. On top of growth and economic development, these include economic efficiency, safety, environmental and social sustainability, local economic and social contribution, as well as resilience against natural disasters.

East Connectivity Series offers CDI’s research and analysis, events and media content on the above topics.