The future sustainable economic development and well-being of citizens in South East Europe depend on greater economic competitiveness. Reinforcing the region’s economic potential in a post-COVID-19 context requires a holistic, inclusive and growth‑oriented approach to policy making. Against the backdrop of enhanced European Union (EU) accession prospects and a drive towards deeper regional integration, the governments of the six Western Balkan (WB6) economies have demonstrated a renewed commitment to enacting policy reforms. The third edition of Competitiveness in South East Europe: A Policy Outlook comprehensively assesses policy reforms in the WB6 economies across 16 policy dimensions crucial to their competitiveness. It leverages a highly participatory assessment process, which brought together the views of OECD experts, WB6 policy makers and local non-governmental stakeholders to create a balanced and realistic depiction of their performance. The report seeks to provide WB6 policy makers with a multi-dimensional benchmarking tool, enabling them to compare performance against regional peers as well as OECD good practices, and to design future policies based on rich evidence and actionable policy recommendations. Economy-specific profiles complement the regional assessment for the first time in this edition of Competitiveness in South East Europe: A Policy Outlook, and provide each WB6 economy with an in-depth analysis of their competitive potential as well as policy recommendations tailored to their specific challenges to inform their structural economic reforms and sustainable development agenda.
The Western Balkans region has come a long way over the last two decades in achieving economic and social progress. With a population of 17.6 million, the region today boasts a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of close to EUR 100 billion, an average GDP per capita of about EUR 5 400 and a comprehensive process of integration with the European Union. This report provides multi-dimensional assessments across the economic, social, finance, governance and environmental pillars of sustainable development for five economies of the region. The region’s location, its deep relationships with Europe and its academic tradition present many opportunities for future development, especially at a time when distances are shrinking further with digitalisation. Making the most of this potential will require collaboration in tackling challenges, which have been further exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Boosting competences and education, strengthening social cohesion and ensuring a green transformation towards clean energy and the valuation of the region’s natural wealth, emerge as strategic priorities. Beyond practical and financial constraints, future solutions must address considerable institutional and governance challenges that remain across the region.
The paper provides a comparative analysis of the implementation of the recently adopted laws on administrative procedure in the five Western Balkan administrations. First the paper confirms the compliance of the laws with the principles of good administrative behaviour that have been established by the Council of Europe recommendations, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Principles of Public Administration. Subsequently, the application of these principles in practice is reviewed on the basis of three sample administrative procedures. Finally, the paper identifies the main implementation challenges and their causes as well as suggests measures for overcoming the challenges on the basis of experiences from EU and OECD member states.
Published regularly, this newsletter reports on the activities of the OECD/GVH Regional Centre for Competition. It provides information about recent cases and developments in the participating economies in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
The Western Balkans region has clear aspirations to improve its economic competitiveness and integrate further into Europe. A highly skilled population is critical to achieving these goals, which makes creating and maintaining high quality and equitable education systems a vital part of regional development efforts. Results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that learning outcomes in the region have improved over time, but that the improvement has not been equitable. Some students are performing similarly to students from countries in the European Union, while others are lagging further behind. This report, developed in co-operation with the European Commission and UNICEF, analyses PISA data in detail to identify the strengths, challenges and unique features of education systems in the Western Balkans. Drawing upon a rich knowledge base of education policy and practice in the region, it makes recommendations about how systems in the region can improve learning for all students. This report will be of interest to regional policy-makers as well as individuals who wish to learn more about education in the Western Balkans.
Government at a Glance: Western Balkans presents information on public governance in the Western Balkan region – covering Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, and compares it to OECD and OECD-EU countries. This first regional edition features 40 indicators on public finance, public employment, centre of government, budgeting practices and procedures, human resources management, public procurement, digital government, core government results and serving citizens. Governance indicators provide important benchmarks on public administration systems, practices and performance. Indicators are presented in a user-friendly format using charts, with brief descriptive analyses of the major findings, and a methodological section on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability.
North Macedonia has today signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the Convention), becoming the 94th jurisdiction to join the Convention, which now covers over 1,650 bilateral tax treaties.
How can assessment and evaluation policies work together more effectively to improve student outcomes in primary and secondary schools? The country reports in this series analyse major issues facing evaluation and assessment policy to identify improvements that can be made to enhance the quality, equity and efficiency of school education. The Republic of North Macedonia has made remarkable progress in expanding access to education and strengthening institutional capacity. Yet, the majority of young Macedonians leave school without mastering the basic competencies for life and work and students’ background continues to influence performance. This review, developed in cooperation with UNICEF, provides North Macedonia with recommendations to help strengthen its evaluation and assessment system, by moving towards a system where assessment provides students with helpful feedback to improve learning. It will be of interest to North Macedonia, as well as other countries looking to make more effective use of their evaluation and assessment system to improve quality and equity, and result in better outcomes for all students.
Robust SME sectors are critical to the prosperity of the six Western Balkan economies and Turkey, accounting for over 70% of those employed in the business sector and generating 65% of value added in these seven economies. Yet their potential remains untapped, as SMEs across the region grapple with numerous challenges that hamper their growth and productivity. They are still under-represented in international trade, and their contributions to value-added remain comparatively low as they have difficulties in moving or expanding into high value-added activities. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the ten principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) in the seven EU pre-accession economies over the period 2016-18. It monitors progress against similar assessments performed over the past decade and identifies the outstanding challenges affecting SMEs. It also provides targeted recommendations to remove barriers to SME development and unleashing their potential for driving inclusive economic growth.