ABSTRACT The last enlargement of the European Union put Western Balkans countries into focus of integration, and thus the countries became an area where future integration is expected. Future enlargement of the European Union depends on the success of the previous EU accession, as well as on the achieved results of the transition process in the Western Balkans, since these countries are not on the same level as the developed European countries or new member states. The region contains small countries that are at different stages on their road towards membership. Transition is a comprehensive process of economic and political reforms that creates many shocks in the economy, and when this process occurs in a politically unstable and war environment, as the case being with the Western Balkans, the results may be very unfavorable. Formal agreements improved the relations between these countries and the European Union, thereby had an influence on risk reduction and increased business transparency, resulting in a growing interest of foreign investors for the region. Despite increased investments in the region and rapid economic growth, Western Balkan countries have only 21 (Albania) and 52% (Croatia) of the average European Union Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, indicating the need for faster implementation of reforms and individual involvement of countries into the process of European integration. There is a significant development gap between Western Balkan countries, so observing the region as a whole and applying a singular strategy in the sense of its economic leveling and the process of EU accession would have a negative impact on Croatia, as the most developed country of the region.
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