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

Republic of Kosovo: 2022 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Republic of Kosovo


January 27, 2023

 

The increase in energy and food prices after Russia’s war in Ukraine is weighing on private demand, activity, and inflation. Real GDP growth has decelerated to 2–3 percent in 2022, after recovering by 10.7 percent in 2021, and inflation increased to more than 11 percent.


IMF Completes Staff Visit to Montenegro


December 12, 2022

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Mr. Srikant Seshadri conducted a staff visit to Montenegro from December 5-12, 2022. At the end of the visit, Mr. Seshadri issued the following statement.


Albania: 2022 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Albania


December 9, 2022

 

Past efforts to build policy buffers and a broadly appropriate macroeconomic policy mix during 2020–21 have helped Albania withstand the impact of consecutive shocks since 2019.


Republic of North Macedonia: Request for an Arrangement under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Republic of North Macedonia


November 29, 2022

 

Given high dependence on energy imports, the external financing need has increased, while at the same time, global financial conditions have tightened, increasing the cost of market financing.


IMF Executive Board Approves SDR 406.87 million (about €530 million) Precautionary and Liquidity Line for North Macedonia


November 22, 2022

 

The IMF Executive Board approved November 21 a two-year arrangement for North Macedonia under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) in the amount of SDR 406.87 million (about €530 million).


Kosovo: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2022 Article IV Mission


November 4, 2022

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Gabriel Di Bella, visited Pristina during October 25-November 4 in the context of the 2022 Article IV consultations.


Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2022 Article IV Mission


October 10, 2022

 

The Albanian economy has weathered multiple shocks since 2019 relatively well. Although Albania’s direct exposures to Russia’s war in Ukraine are limited, with twin deficits and high government debt, Albania now faces challenges stemming from soaring international food and energy prices, tighter global financial conditions which are likely to persist, and the economic slowdown in Europe.


IMF Reaches Staff Level Agreement with the Republic of North Macedonia Under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line


October 10, 2022

 

IMF Team and Authorities of the Republic of North Macedonia Reach Staff-Level Agreement on a 24-Month €530 million Arrangement under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL).


Statement of IMF Deputy Managing Director Li at the Conclusion of his visit to Kosovo


September 22, 2022

 

Mr. Bo Li, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement in Pristina today at the conclusion of his visit to Kosovo.


Statement of IMF Deputy Managing Director Li at the Conclusion of his visit to Albania


September 21, 2022

 

Mr. Bo Li, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement in Tirana today at the conclusion of his visit to Albania.


IMF Completes Staff Visit to Montenegro


July 28, 2022

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Mr. Srikant Seshadri conducted a staff visit to Montenegro from July 18-27, 2022.


IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Kosovo


May 26, 2022

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Gabriel Di Bella, conducted a staff visit to Kosovo during May 10 – 13 and May 20, to discuss recent economic developments, the outlook, and policies.


IMF Staff Concludes a Staff Visit to Albania


May 19, 2022

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Ms. Yan Sun, conducted a staff visit in Albania during May 12–19.


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.

 

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Research and Papers

Republic of Kosovo: Selected Issues

January 27, 2023


This Selected Issues paper on Kosovo was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund as background documentation for the periodic consultation with the member country. It is based on the information available at the time it was completed on December 20, 2022.  
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Albania: Adopting to Climate Change

December 9, 2022


Albania has been struck by numerous, costly natural disasters, with increasing frequency in its recent history due to climate change. Over the last two decades, the frequency of natural disasters has increased, with floods and forest fires becoming more frequent as the impact of climate change is being increasingly felt. 
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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. 
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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

Albania: 2022 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Albania
December 9, 2022

Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2022 Article IV Mission
October 10, 2022

Statement of IMF Deputy Managing Director Li at the Conclusion of his visit to Albania
September 21, 2022

IMF Staff Concludes a Staff Visit to Albania
May 19, 2022

Albania: Enhancing Tax Administration Capacity During Challenging Times
April 22, 2022

Albania: Technical Assistance Report-Tax Policy Reform Options for the MTRS
February 17, 2022

Albania: 2021 Article IV Consultation-Press Release
December 7, 2021

Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Mission
October 12, 2021

IMF Staff Concludes a Remote Staff Visit to Albania
June 11, 2021

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2020 First Post-Program Monitoring with Albania
November 30, 2020

Albania: First Post-Program Monitoring-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Albania
November 30, 2022

Albania: Staff Concluding Statement of the First Post-Program Monitoring Mission
September 28, 2020

IMF Staff Concludes a Remote Staff Visit to Albania
July 1, 2020

Albania : Request for Purchase under the Rapid Financing Instrument-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Albania
April 17, 2020

IMF Executive Board Approves US$190.5 Million in Emergency Support to Albania to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic
April 10, 2020

IMF Staff Concludes Additional Talks on 2019 Article IV Consultation with Albania

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

November 29, 2022

November 1, 2022

October 10, 2022

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

October 2022

The war in Ukraine is taking a growing toll on Europe’s economies. The worsening energy crisis has depressed households’ purchasing power and raised firms’ costs, only partly offset by new government support. Central banks in the region and the world are acting more forcefully to bring high and persistent inflation down to targets, and global financial conditions have tightened. European policymakers are facing severe trade-offs and tough policy choices. A tightening macroeconomic policy stance is needed to bring down inflation, while helping vulnerable households and viable firms weather the energy crisis. But policies need to stay nimble and agile and adjust should additional shocks materialize.

Download the full report

April 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine created a humanitarian catastrophe. In two months since the invasion, about 5 million people, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine, and thousands have been wounded or killed. The war will also have severe economic consequences for Europe, having struck when the recovery from the pandemic was still incomplete.

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. 

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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