EU4Business: From Policies to Action in the Eastern Partnership
The six countries of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) share a number of common strengths, including a highly educated workforce, a strategic geographic position and a recognition of the importance of improving the business environment. To leverage these strengths, the countries are progressively opening up their economies to trade and investment opportunities and are making efforts to converge with best policy practices and global standards. The OECD is supporting these efforts through analytical work, knowledge transfer, capacity building and public-private dialogue. Under the project “EU4Business: From Policies to Action”, the OECD assists Eastern Partner countries to strengthen their competitiveness, diversify their economies and increase resilience against external shocks by creating level-playing field conditions for SMEs, accelerating their digital transformation implementing business climate reforms, and developing benchmarking and monitoring tools to measure reform progress. The project is implemented by the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme with the financial support of the European Union’s EU4Business initiative.
Highlights of OECD Support to the Eastern Partnership
- The OECD supports Eastern Partner governments in developing better institutional frameworks for the private sector, and for SMEs in particular. It assists governments in preparing SME strategies and action plans, designing results-based monitoring systems, and introducing public-private dialogue to inform policy making and monitor progress in reform implementation. During project phase 1 (2017-2021), the OECD carried out country-specific projects with all six EaP countries:
- Armenia: Monitoring SME policy reforms (2017) English | Russian
- Azerbaijan: Driving Diversification through Strengthened Entrepreneurship (2019) English | Azerbaijani and Linking Domestic Suppliers with Foreign Investors (2019) English | Azerbaijani
- Belarus: Effective Support Services for SME Competitiveness (2020)English | Russian
- Georgia: Monitoring Georgia’s SME Development Strategy 2016-2020 (2019) English | Russian
- Republic of Moldova: Promoting Exports and Supply Chain Linkages in the Food Industry (2020) English | Russian
- Ukraine: Monitoring the Implementation of Ukraine’s SME Development Strategy 2017-2020 (2020) English | Ukrainian | Russian
Starting from 2021, the OECD will implement project phase 2 (2021-2024) with a specific focus on accelerating the digital transformation of SMEs.
- The OECD supports Eastern Partner governments in improving their investment climate by leveraging the OECD Policy Framework for Investment. In 2020, the OECD published an in-depth OECD Investment Policy Review of Georgia, taking stock of recent achievements in improving the investment climate and assessing areas for the Georgian government to consider in strengthening its reform efforts to attract FDI that can have a positive impact on inclusive, sustainable growth. At regional level, the OECD carried out a mapping of investment policies in the Eastern Partner countries, notably looking at FDI liberalisation, investment promotion and facilitation, investment tax incentives and responsible business conduct.
- The OECD strengthens the institutional capacity of governments to monitor and evaluate their competitiveness reforms. It also works with governments to improve the production, analysis and dissemination of harmonised business statistics. In Armenia and Ukraine, capacity-building activities have enabled national statistics offices and central banks to improve collection of structural and business demography statistics and SME financing indicators.
- The OECD carried out a third round of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) assessment in 2018-2019 to provide regional benchmarking of SME support policies in the Eastern Partner region. The results were published in March 2020 in a new edition of the OECD SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries. The Index has been developed by the OECD in partnership with the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Training Foundation. It identifies strengths and weaknesses in policy design and implementation, and allows for comparison across countries and measures convergence towards EU SME policy standards.
- The project enables Eastern Partner countries to participate in OECD benchmarking tools to enable evidence-based policy making and international comparison of business environment reforms. This includes participation in the FDI-Regulatory Restrictiveness Index and the OECD Scoreboard: Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs
- The OECD stimulates regional policy dialogue on reform implementation through the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable. The Roundtable is a platform for peer review and knowledge sharing on the implementation of competitiveness reforms in the thirteen partner countries of the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme.
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More information on www.eu4business.eu.