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Oxfam is concerned that rising poverty and inequality in South Eastern Europe could derail the EU’s long term efforts to ‘project stability’ to the region. Our experience of working with poor and vulnerable groups throughout the former Yugoslavia and Albania concurs with the World Bank’s assessment that ‘poverty is likely to have worsened dramatically in recent years.’ Through most of the region, economic output has scarcely reached 75 per cent of prewar levels. Incomes have collapsed, as many people have lost their jobs through displacement and the closure of state-owned industries. Massive unemployment and reduced government spending mean that many people in South Eastern Europe are living in poverty, and lack access to basic services such as health care and education.

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