Bosnia – Kosovo
In 2005, ESI first spoke of the dangers of an emerging "Western Balkan ghetto":
"By 2007, with the next enlargement, the region will be surrounded entirely by EU members. It is only the prospect of following the countries of Central Europe and the Eastern Balkans (Bulgaria and Romania) into the EU that gives the countries of the Western Balkans any hope of avoiding becoming a ghetto of underdevelopment in the midst of Europe."
ESI research on Kosovo also confirmed worrying trends:
"There is a desperate shortage of employment. Families with increasing numbers of dependents cannot save for the future or invest in new businesses. The old escape route of emigration is closed. The cash remittances sent back by family members abroad are likely to decline, leaving rural families without an important source of household income and the most important source of investment income. In the absence of a radical shift in policy, the next generation of young Kosovars has very little to look forward to except declining standards of living."
ESI also found that EU strategies contributed to the growing gap between the Western Balkans and the rest of Europe. An ESI report compared planned EU assistance to Serbia and Bulgaria (million €).