Competitiveness in South East Europe 2021

A Policy Outlook

image of Competitiveness in South East Europe 2021

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.


Executive summary

Over the past two decades, the six Western Balkan (WB6) economies have implemented a number of economic reforms that have strengthened their competitiveness; however, 2020 has confronted them with unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the region, with gross domestic product contracting by 3.3%, exacerbating existing structural challenges and bringing new ones to the fore. The pandemic has revealed the need to reorient the region’s reform priorities towards a stronger focus on sustainability, inclusiveness and citizen well-being. Against this backdrop, a holistic, evidence-based structural reform agenda that outlines a path to sustainable, inclusive growth and rising living standards is of utmost importance for all WB6 economies.

English Also available in: Macedonian, Croatian, Serbian, Albanian, Bosnian, All

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error