The Pandemic Has Hit South-Eastern Europe Hard but Opportunities Beckon
In poor regions like the Balkans, the economic impact of the pandemic will be far-reaching and acutely test social resilience. However, it will also provide opportunities for self-reliance and resourcefulness that could benefit Europe more widely. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) calculate that the economic contraction in the Balkans will range between 3% and 10%. The IMF also forecasts that Balkan economies, which have applied strict lockdowns to contain the pandemic, can start to rebound later this year with a 4.2% uptick in production once social restrictions are relaxed. Several countries are allowing small and medium-sized businesses to reopen in May, while larger public gatherings, including schools, shopping centers, parks, and sports venues will open more gradually if the contagion continues to decrease.