In the course of the event organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung that took place on the 16th of May in Sofia, we would like to present to you the key findings of our most recent study on inequality in the Western Balkans “Equality Matters!”, its effects on democracy in the region and subsequently on the EU accession process.
In expectation of the Western Balkan Summit to take place on 17th of March in Sofia the aim of the event was to add a different perspective accent in the enlargement debate.
The European discourse on ‘transition’ mainly looks at democratization through growth. But might the current enlargement strategy have it wrong after all? Is it truly a ‘functioning market economy’ that leads to democracy? Might a non-inclusive growth not undermine democratic development? Unleashing the market where social structures are weak means giving advantage to those already powerful and well-connected. An unfair economic competition entrenches social and political inequality – leading to unstable, indebted economies, low levels of trust, participation, happiness, health, public safety, education, and social mobility. In other words, unequal societies remain stuck in the muck – actual development requires equality.
The study was presented by Mirna Jusić, Author of the study. The findings were commented by Dragan Tevdovski, Finance Minister of the Republic of Macedonia and Sergej Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists.
A summary of the key messages and recommendations can be accessed here: library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/sarajevo/14451.pdf
The full report is available here: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/sarajevo/14452.pdf