This web page presents information about the work of the IMF in the Western Balkans, including the activities of the IMF Regional Representative Office. Additional information can be found on the IMF country pages of the region (Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Republic of North Macedonia), including official IMF reports and Executive Board documents that deal with the Western Balkans as a region and with each of its countries.

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Mission

The Regional Office for the Western Balkans, located in Vienna, Austria, was created to strengthen the IMF’s relationship with AlbaniaKosovoMontenegro, and Republic of North Macedonia. The objective of the office is to maintain a close engagement with the four countries as well as with donors, international institutions, including the World Bank, and the Austrian government, an important trade and development partner of the Western Balkan region.

Its main tasks include:

• Engaging with policymakers and other interlocutors on economic policies; as well as fostering a dialogue on global economic issues; 
• Supporting IMF operations in the Western Balkans, including policy advice, lending arrangements, technical assistance, and recruitment efforts;
• Helping to coordinate communication and outreach activities across the region.

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News

Albania: Enhancing Tax Administration Capacity During Challenging Times


April 22, 2022

 

The purpose of this mission was to assist the General Directorate of Taxes (GDT) in taking stock of reform efforts and provide advice on future efforts. In recent years, the GDT made solid progress in realizing its reform agenda.


IMF Executive Board Receives Request for a Precautionary and Liquidity Line Arrangement with North Macedonia


April 20, 2022

 

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Executive Board met on April 15 for an informal discussion of the request by the authorities of the Republic of North Macedonia for a two-year Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) with the IMF.


Montenegro: 2021 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Montenegro


February 24, 2022

 

COVID-19 hit the economy hard, but a strong recovery is underway. Public debt, already elevated before the pandemic, has increased further.


Republic of North Macedonia: 2021 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Republic of North Macedonia


February 16, 2022

 

The economy is rebounding. After a 6 percent drop in 2020, real GDP is projected to grow at 4 percent both in 2021 and 2022, reflecting improved mobility, a return of the diaspora, and continued policy support. With uncertainty remaining high, including about the course of the pandemic, policies need to be kept flexible.


Republic of North Macedonia: Selected Issues


February 16, 2022

 

This Selected Issues paper on the Republic of North Macedonia was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund as background documentation for the periodic consultation with the member country.


Republic of Kosovo: 2021 Article IV Consultation-Press Release and Staff Report


January 12, 2022

 

After contracting more than 5 percent in 2020, Kosovo’s economy is projected to have recovered by 7.5 percent in 2021, thanks to mobility normalization, extraordinary diaspora inflows, and strengthened confidence.


IMF Executive Board Concludes 2021 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Kosovo


January 11, 2022

 

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Kosovo and considered and endorsed the staff appraisal without a meeting.


North Macedonia: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Consultation


December 17, 2021

 

An International Monetary Fund mission conducted the 2021 Article IV Consultation between November 23 and December 10, 2021.


Albania: 2021 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Albania


December 7, 2021

 

Albania’s economy has shown considerable resilience in the face of the 2019 earthquake and the pandemic.


Montenegro: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Mission


November 17, 2021

 

An International Monetary Fund mission conducted the 2021 Article IV Consultation between October 25 and November 17. The team visited Podgorica from November 10 to 17.


Kosovo: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Mission


November 5, 2021

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Gabriel Di Bella, conducted a virtual visit during October 20-Novermber 4 in the context of the 2021 Article IV consultations.


Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Mission


October 12, 2021

 

Albania’s economy has shown considerable resilience in the face of the 2019 earthquake and the pandemic. After a terrible 2020, activity is rebounding strongly. Policies have played a critical role in preserving lives and livelihoods and thereby paving the way for the recovery.


IMF Staff Completes Virtual Staff Visit to Kosovo


June 18, 2021

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Gabriel Di Bella, conducted a virtual staff visit to Kosovo during June 7-17, to discuss recent economic developments and policies. Mr. Di Bella issued the following statement


 

IMF Staff Concludes a Remote Staff Visit to Albania

 

June 11, 2021

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Ms. Yan Sun, conducted a staff visit remotely with Albania during June 7-11. At the conclusion of the mission, Ms. Sun issued the following statement. Download PDF (in Albanian).


Montenegro: Statement on the legislative proposal for untargeted borrower support measures

 

May 26, 2021

 

Stephanie Eble, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative to the Regional Office for the Western Balkans, issued the following statement on May 26, 2021.


IMF Staff Concludes Virtual Visit to North Macedonia

 

May 19, 2021

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Bergljot Barkbu, conducted a virtual staff visit with the authorities of North Macedonia during May 6-17, to discuss recent economic developments and policies. Download PDF (in Macedonian)


IMF Staff to Conduct Technical Staff Visit to Albania

 

February 26, 2021

 

An IMF team led by Yan Sun will conduct a virtual staff visit to Albania during March 3-9, 2021.  The technical discussions with the authorities and other counterparts are expected to cover economic and financial developments in 2020, prospects for 2021, and the status of structural reforms. Download PDF


IMF Executive Board Concludes 2020 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Kosovo  

 

February 17, 2021

 

Economic activity is forecast to rebound by 4.5 percent in 2021 supported by continued fiscal stimulus, and the projected gradual relaxation of containment measures. The outlook remains subject to large uncertainty, and depends on the evolution of the pandemic, the speed of vaccinations, and political developments. Read more


Republic of Kosovo: 2020 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Republic of Kosovo

 

February 17, 2021

 

Kosovo has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite policy support, economic activity is estimated to have fallen 6 percent in 2020 on account of the combined effect of strict domestic containment measures and international travel restrictions. Read more


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Research and Papers

Infrastructure in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe : Benchmarking, Macroeconomic Impact, and Policy Issues

September 28, 2020


CESEE countries lag in terms of infrastructure compared to the EU15, and deficient infrastructure is often cited as a constraint to growth and convergence. Investing in infrastructure is therefore an important long-standing policy issue for the region. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, infrastructure investment has also gained some ground as economies look to support activity in the recovery phase once the virus has been contained. 
Learn more


Improving Fiscal Transparency to Raise Government Efficiency and Reduce Corruption Vulnerabilities in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe 

May 11, 2020

This departmental paper investigates how countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) can improve fiscal transparency, thereby raising government efficiency and reducing corruption vulnerabilities.


North Macedonia—Income Convergence and EU integration 

January 27, 2020

Although growth has been solid in the past two decades, it has not been enough to substantially narrow North Macedonia’s income gap with the European Union (EU). Based on the experience of other countries, joining the EU, which North Macedonia is aspiring to, has the potential to strengthen growth prospects. Read more


Lifting Growth in the Western Balkans : The Role of Global Value Chains and Services Exports

November 18, 2019

This paper focuses on how the countries in the Western Balkans could lift exports through stronger integration with global value chains (GVCs) and broadening of services exports. The experience of countries that joined the European Union in or after 2004 shows that participation in GVCs can help small economies accelerate export and income growth. Read more


Demographic Headwinds in Central and Eastern Europe

July 15, 2019

populations of Central and Eastern European (CESEE) countries—with the exception of Turkey—are expected to decrease significantly over the next 30 years, driven by low or negative net birth rates and outward migration. These changes will have significant implications for growth, living standards and fiscal sustainability. Read more


Reassessing the Role of State-Owned Enterprises in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe

June 18, 2019 

The Central, Eastern, and South Eastern European (CESEE) region is ripe for a reassessment of the role of the state in economic activity. The rapid income convergence with Western Europe of the early 2000s was not always equally shared across society, and it has now slowed dramatically in many countries of the region. Read more


Public Infrastructure in the Western Balkans : Opportunities and Challenges

April 17, 2018                                    

An assessment of public infrastructure development in the Western Balkans. The paper quantifies the large gaps across various sectors/dimensions, evaluates current infrastructure plans, and discusses funding options available to countries in the region. Read more


Western Balkans: Increasing Women's Role in the Economy

September 1, 2017

The Western Balkan countries have some of the lowest female labor force participation and employment rates across Europe. Almost two-thirds of working age women in the region are either inactive or unemployed: a huge bite into human capital for a region that endures high emigration and faces declining working age population. Read more


Emigration and Its Economic Impact on Eastern Europe

July 2016

This paper examines the effects of emigration on private sector activity, competitiveness, public finances, and ultimately, growth in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) economies as well as the pace of their income convergence to Western Europe. Read more


Cross-Country Report on Minimum Wages : Selected Issues

June 15, 2016

This paper provides a cross-country report on minimum wages. In the past few years, many countries in Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) have increasingly turned to minimum wage policies. Read more

 

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IMF and the Western Balkans

Albania

April 22, 2022

February 17, 2022

December 7, 2021

October 12, 2021

June 11, 2021

November 30, 2020

November 30, 2020

September 28, 2020

July 1, 2020

April 17, 2020

April 10, 2020

March 13, 2020

Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2019 Article IV Mission
November 26, 2019

Albania : Technical Assistance Report–Monetary and Financial Statistics and Financial Accounts Mission
October 3, 2019

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2019 Second Post-Program Monitoring for Albania
July 3, 2019

Albania : Second Post-Program Monitoring Discussions-Press Release; and Staff Report
July 3, 2019

IMF to Open New Regional Office for Western Balkans
June 14, 2019

Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the Second Post-Program Monitoring Mission
May 6, 2019

Albania : Technical Assistance Report-Revenue Administration: Supporting the Delivery of the Reform Agenda
April 2, 2019

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2018 Article IV Consultation with Albania
January 28, 2019

Albania : 2018 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Albania
January 28, 2019

Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2018 Article IV Mission
November 20, 2018

 

Kosovo

October 8, 2020

Republic of Kosovo : Technical Assistance Report-Financial Sector Stability Review

July 7, 2020

May 12, 2020

April 16, 2020

April 10, 2020

November 19, 2019

June 19, 2019

June 14, 2019

December 18, 2018

December 18, 2018

October 30, 2018

June 6, 2018

February 15, 2018

February 5, 2018

February 4, 2018

February 2, 2018

December 13, 2017

September 27, 2017

June 14, 2017

May 11, 2017

March 17, 2017

Montenegro

North Macedonia

April 20, 2022

February 16, 2022

December 17, 2021

May 19, 2021

November 20, 2020

May 12, 2020

April 21, 2020

April 10, 2020

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

November 18, 2019

June 14, 2019

January 29, 2019

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia : 2018 Article IV Consultation; Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

January 29, 2019

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2018 Article IV Mission

November 19, 2018

IMF Publishes Fiscal Transparency Evaluation for Macedonia

October 29, 2018

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia : Fiscal Transparency Evaluation

October 29, 2018

Spotlight on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Five Ways to Reform

November 22, 2017

IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

November 22, 2017

 

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Regional Economic Outlook

Europe

April 2021

With new waves of COVID-19 infections hitting Europe, the recovery remains halting. However, vaccinations are progressing and thus Europe’s GDP growth is projected to rebound by 4.5 percent in 2021. The main priority is to quickly ramp up the production and administration of vaccines. At the same time, policymakers need to continue providing emergency support to households and firms. And they need to prepare measures to stimulate hiring and investment once the pandemic is under control. Such measures will foster a quicker and fuller recovery, by reducing scarring from unemployment, missed education and training, and low investment.

Download the full report

 

October 2021

An increasingly resilient recovery is taking hold in Europe, buttressed by gradual increases in vaccination rates and mobility. Strongly accommodative macroeconomic policies and COVID-19 support schemes have paved the way for the recovery by helping preserve employment relationships and protecting private sector balance sheets. However, uncertainty remains elevated, not least because of the risk of new infection waves and virus variants amid uneven vaccination rates across countries. It is therefore imperative to continue increasing vaccinations, notably in emerging European economies, and to strongly support international efforts to speed up vaccine access globally. 

Download the full report