The 20 years of Serbia's transition to a market economy will be discussed, explaining why a country that had among the best starting conditions in 1989 to implement the transition ended up substantially lagging behind. Although the emphasis is on economic transition, economic policies are examined within a wider context taking into account major political and historical events. Starting from Serbia's favorable initial conditions in 1989 while it was still part of Yugoslavia, the talk will proceed to analyze the difficult 1990s characterized by high political and economic instability, international isolation due to wars and sanctions, and lack of fundamental economic reforms. The end of the Milosevic regime in October 2000 facilitated a radically new course in transition, which brought many economic achievements, but also a number of policy failures. Although macroeconomic performance has greatly improved and there was an acceleration of major institutional reforms, some important areas of reform were neglected. In the meantime, there was increasing economic integration of Serbia with the European Union and substantial improvements in their political relations, leading to the signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement and Serbia's recent application for EU candidate status. The 2008-09 global financial and economic crisis has had a severe impact on Serbia's economy, however, raising many questions regarding its future model of growth. Serbia's 20-year transition has been more complex than in many other parts of the former communist world and in many ways unique. The talk will draw heavily on Prof. Uvalic's recent book Serbia's Transition – Towards a Better Future (Palgrave Macmillan, May 2010)
This event took place in the 6th floor boardroom.