Even if a sovereign debt crisis is avoided, the public debt burden will negatively impact growth.
In the 2010s, the economic outlook of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region deteriorated, with numerous long-term socio-economic and institutional challenges still unresolved. COVID-19 has compounded the problems. As the region's largest external trading partner, the European Union should do more to support economic and political transformation.
Central banks in emerging markets with weak currencies should not resort to unorthodox monetary tools such as quantitative easing as a response to the crisis triggered by COVID-19. Preferable alternatives include shifting public spending away from less pressing needs, moderately increasing public debt and falling back on official development assistance.
Over the past five years conflict has led to a deterioration of Russo-Ukrainian economic relations while ties with the EU have been deepened. This shift is evident in trade flows: the European Union has become Ukraine’s biggest trading partner, while China is poised to overtake Russia as its second. Natural gas imports from Russia, Ukraine’s prior Achilles heel, have been partially replaced by reverse deliveries from the EU and reduced as result of reform of the gas sector.
Since the Euromaidan protests (2013-2014), Ukraine has had two presidents and four governments. In a difficult environment of external aggression, they have initiated various reforms aimed at bringing the country closer to the European Union and boosting growth. Progress has been partial and relies on international backing, with limited domestic appetite for reform.
Emerging economies have received little attention in the economic debate regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the performance of their primary market indicators, chiefly sovereign debt, foreign exchange and equities, indicate a deep deterioration is taking place. Times of crisis often lead to capital flight from emerging markets as investors seek safe haven assets, while the localised effects of the disease and the collapse in the price of certain key commodities have also been damaging. More worryingly, this appears to be the beginning of the storm, and emerging economies have far less room for fiscal and monetary manoeuvring.
The ‘new enlargement methodology’ may help overcome the impasse triggered by the inability of the European Council to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania
This paper’s main conclusion is that Russia’s economy cannot grow at the pace recorded in the early and mid-2000s because of the different external environment, the different stage of development and serious demographic headwinds.
In the last decade, most advanced economies have grown more slowly than before. Slower growth has frequently been seen as a legacy of financial crises, especially that of 2007–2009.
Historically, the EU enlargement process played a powerful role in encouraging the EU candidates and potential candidates to conduct fundamental political, economic and institutional reforms. This has also happened with the Western Balkan countries once they received the EU membership perspective in 2003. However, in the last few years, preparations for their accession slowed down, as a result of limited progress in domestic reforms, unresolved regional conflicts and limited appetite for further enlargement among EU member states.