The European Commission has published a quarterly report on the economic performance of candidate and potentially EU candidate countries, analyzing the economies of the Western Balkans, including Turkey. Enthusiastic, the head of the Economy Committee, former Minister of Finance and Economy, Arben Ahmetaj points out four important points highlighted in this report.
1. ‘The first good news is that Albania is one of the two countries in the region (along with Montenegro) that have continued the positive growth of the economy over the third quarter of 2018, while other countries and the average region decline.
2 – Albania is projected to have the highest economic growth in the Western Balkans including Turkey in 2019-2020. At the same time, unemployment in Albania is projected to the lowest level in the region, close to 10% in 2020, while public debt continues to consolidate the downward trajectory, up to 65.2%.
3 – The European Commission confirms an economic growth of over 4% for 2018, as previously estimated by the IMF or Standard and Poor’s. The growth of private consumption, imports and investments continue to have the main contribution to economic growth.
4 – Strong economic performance continues to be reflected in the positive developments in the labor market. Labor force participation in the third quarter of 2018 is 68.3%, compared to 67.1% a year earlier.
Employment in the non-agricultural sector has increased by 7.5%, while unemployment has been the lowest since 2012. Employment for young people aged 15-29 has accelerated to 26% compared to the previous year, while unemployment for this age group continued to decline from the peak of 34% in 2015.
Salaries in the private sector are estimated to have increased by an average of 15 points in all sectors, compared to the same period a year earlier. The European Commission’s extremely positive report on the Albanian economy is another serious reflection on the not-so-difficult achievements of recent years.
The main challenge remains the continuation of reforms and fiscal consolidation, to guarantee not only the continuation of economic growth and employment, but also the appropriate response to the slowdown risk of the region and EU economies, “Ahmetaj writes.