16 March 2006
Gerald Knaus on misperceptions of the Balkans in the EU
Gerald Knaus spoke on common misperceptions of the Balkans region in the European Union at the eighth "Potsdam Spring Dialogues" under the title "The Balkans at a Crossroads - Prospects for a lasting peace":
- The region is perceived as a source of crime, although there are not any data to support this claim. However, data that exist show that crime rates in Bosnia and Herzegovina for example are not higher than in the German Federal State of Brandenburg.
- It is assumed that there is economic growth in parts of the region. But for Bosnia and Kosovo, for example, there are no serious data. What can be said is that unemployment is extremely high and productivity is very low.
- It is also assumed that the current EU-engagement in the Western Balkans is similar to the "Member-State-Building" with former accession candidates but this would require a long term perspective and serious assessments.