Serbia hasn’t had the best time in the last few years. Regional strife with Kosovo refuses to die down, while this winter it took the brunt of Europe’s deadly cold snap.However, a fascinating article from the Economist points out that hidden beneath these attention-grabbing problems, it looks like the very economic core of Serbia could well be rotten.
Unemployment last November hit 23.7%, while the much-touted privatization of a major steel factory failed and the plant had to be “re-nationalized”.
Ivana Prica, an economist at Belgrade University, tells the Economist that another problem is a high trade deficit that is leading to huge amounts of foreign debt — a path familiar to the Greeks.
The result seems to be a political swing to the nationalist right, a familiar sight for much of Europe. An offshoot of an extremist party, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), seems to have around 30% of the vote in an upcoming election.
The problem is, of course, that Serbia sits in the middle of a geopolitical and recent historical context that means this swing to the right could have far more consequence.
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