A Snapshot of the Balkan Economy

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Balkans Economy

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In its heyday in the late 1970s, Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica (KAP) aluminium factory in Podgorica supported the families of 5,000 workers. Now, with its workforce cut to a fifth, huge parts of the complex resemble a ghost town, blanketed in dust and suffocated by debts of more than 380 million euros ($513 million).

Montenegro is now torn between a pressing need for economic stability and the political and social cost of closing down KAP. It's a choice faced by others in the Balkans: giving up a cherished, but ultimately unprofitable business model, spurred by financial necessity and hope of renewed prosperity within the European Union. The former Yugoslavia is littered with such industrial dinosaurs, deprived of the largesse of the late socialist leader Josip Broz Tito but kept on life-support by governments too scared to pull the plug.

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