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Reconstruction of the economies of the Western Balkans

By Blerim Abedini, ISSD-NM

The Balkans is challenged continuously in history. Some progress is seen in Balkan in different connotations. North Macedonia, with its slow reforms from the 90s until today, understands the need to reform the political system as a condition to be part of the group of welfare societies. In the Balkans and especially the Western region, I have to outline values ​for keeping it with modern trends such as affirmative technologies, the protection of nature from the disappearance of forests, and the recycling of household waste otherwise known as the Zero Waste Project. While Germany earns 1 billion euros from waste recycling, North Macedonia is destroying the ecosystem by burying waste underground. The Western Balkans is stuck with employment in rural areas, which affects the youth to migrate to the big cities, by selling their properties (real estate) for buying a flat in the capital or bigger cities. So, the missing local transport to the production companies such as the railways in the EU affects the depopulation of rural municipalities. It becomes difficult for people with university education to find work in a rural area, which impacts replacing their residential address or sometimes leaving their country. The Western Balkans, which was inherited by former leader Tito, left the new generations with a lack of atmospheric and fecal public infrastructure in rural areas. State companies were closed due to corruption and being unable to cohabitate in the new world trade contest. Water supply installations are old and covered by lime inside pipes for 50%. The cutting of trees in forests has depleted the water resources up to 20 liters/second which is done for two decades and damaged the osmosis process of woods. Schools built by former leader Tito, theaters that are now demolished, sports halls in many municipalities, bookstores, and reading rooms with internet access. All these are difficult challenges for youths. The public infrastructure inherited from Tito, such as old bridges, irrigation canals with a medieval system, old electrical transformers, weak agriculture due to the missing good roads, the mines that were left in the agricultural fields by the Yugoslav War, etc. These issues are part of the debates that take place in the media. The risk of flooding in times of extreme climate can destroy many settlements in villages and cities, as well as increasing migration to other countries or in the mountain area. We may see events of flooding which already are happening in the poor countries of Asia, Africa, and South America as well as in coastal areas in the world.

The consequences of the stagnation of the Western Balkans, and states as part of the Soviet Union, were challenged by the economic-political transition, the process of privatization, and the disappearance of state production. In addition, the transition to the democratic system or political pluralism from the communist system is the second political challenge. Many companies that produced metal minerals, agricultural products, transport vehicles, airplanes, bridges and roads, and home appliance manufacturing from the 1990s slowly closed until the year 2010. Small resident companies began to appear on the economic scene as nonresident foreign investments that come from democratic or capitalist states. Willingly or not, this economic-political transition brought us regression in all fields, even in the field of education. We know the time after the Second World War when the slogan for the construction and reconstruction of Yugoslavia activated the broad popular mass to participate in the rebuilding of the destroyed public infrastructure.

The dangers that threaten us from extreme climate will weaken state economies around the globe. The crisis of energy resources requires people and officials to invest in renewable resources such as sun energy, wind energy, automation, satellite navigation, fast information through the Internet, afforestation, irrigation of desert areas, use of the desalination method from oceanic waters for irrigation or household use, the application of new technologies for the absorption of atmospheric waters in dry countries(evaporation), etc. But it must be considered that any war or political-economic crisis will cost humanity deeply in terms of survival.

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