Growth is strengthening and broadening across Europe, driven by buoyant domestic demand (Figure 1.1). Following a pickup in economic activity in the second half of 2016, the European economy accelerated further in the first half of 2017, with growth outcomes surprising on the upside in most countries.
The countries of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) have made major progress in raising living standards over the past two and a half decades. This progress was supported by a radical transformation of their economies and institutions. Using case studies and empirical analysis, this chapter explores the role of internal and external factors, particularly accession to the European Union (EU), in supporting reforms to strengthen the effectiveness of the judiciary. The findings suggest that, beyond initial conditions, an enabling environment for judicial reforms was created by factors and policies that (1) improved the distribution of resources and opportunities, (2) upgraded rules and procedures to recruit and train civil servants, and (3) increased transparency and accountability. The European Union and the Council of Europe (CoE) acted as strong external anchors in catalyzing reforms. However, there were also some reversals of reforms, and the sustainability of reforms appears to depend mainly on domestic factors. These findings might offer insights in particular for countries aiming to join the European Union, but also for others seeking to improve the effectiveness of their judiciary.
Income convergence in the Western Balkans has stalled at low levels.1 Measured in purchasing-power-parity (PPP) terms, income levels in the region today are less than 30 percent what they are in the euro area (Figure 3.1). Equally noteworthy, the ratio has not changed since 2008. This is in sharp contrast to the experience of the New Member States of the European Union (EU), where relative incomes have continued to grow strongly since the global financial crisis and are now at nearly two-thirds those of the euro area. There are many reasons for this disappointing performance,2 including an unfinished transition, exemplified in some countries by a large swath of inefficient state-owned enterprises; shortcomings in the rule of law and the business environment; limited human capital, exacerbated in some countries by significant emigration of qualified human resources, or “brain drain”; and scant and poor-quality public infrastructure. While acknowledging these issues, this chapter focuses on another important plank for the region’s development: the health of its banking sectors. Implicit is the assumption that, even if reforms in the other areas bring about high-quality bankable projects, their potential, and with it overall economic growth, will not be fully realized if banks are not in a good position to fund them.
Thank you very much, Secretary Summers, President Wolfensohn, Chairman Acharya, Director Camdessus, Vice President Fall, Secretary Anjaria. Let me begin by saying how very grateful I am to be here with all of you. I appreciate the generous introduction. Some of you may have heard me say this before, but the introduction that Secretary Summers just gave me is an illustration of one of my unbending laws of political life: whenever possible, be introduced by someone you have appointed to high office. It is much easier, because he has done such a superb job, and I thank him.
This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper on Bosnia and Herzegovina provides background information for the 1999 Article IV Consultation with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The economy has been dominated by a small number of large state-owned enterprises. A central policy was settled during the preparation of the privatization framework under which the competence to privatize was assigned to the entities. Major tax policy reforms will be needed over the medium term to address the deficiencies of the present tax system, and to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth, driven mainly by private sector development.