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Competitiveness in South East Europe

A Policy Outlook 2018

image of Competitiveness in South East Europe

Future economic development and the well-being of citizens in South East Europe (SEE) increasingly depend on greater economic competitiveness. Realising the region’s economic potential requires a holistic, growth-oriented policy approach. Against the backdrop of enhanced European Union (EU) accession prospects and a drive towards deeper regional co-operation, SEE governments have demonstrated a renewed commitment to enacting policy reforms.

 

The second edition of Competitiveness in South East Europe: A Policy Outlook seeks to help SEE policy makers assess progress made towards their growth goals and benchmark them against regional peers and OECD good practices. The 17 policy dimensions addressed in this report encompass a wide range of areas key to economic competitiveness including the business environment, skills and capacity, the region's economic structure and its governance. The report leveraged a highly participatory assessment process which brought together more than 1 500 individual stakeholders including OECD experts, SEE policy makers, private sector representatives and regional policy networks and organisations to create a balanced view of performance.

Since the latest edition of the report, there have been areas of noteworthy progress. The six assessed SEE economies have adopted strategies to improve the overall standard of education, acted to remove technical barriers to trade and taken steps to establish better financing mechanisms for small and medium-sized enterprises. Further efforts are underway to expand broadband services and close the digital divide, tackle inefficiencies in the energy and agriculture sectors, and address demographic challenges posed by long-term unemployment. Notwithstanding these important gains, there remain considerable challenges for these economies as they continue their journey towards structural reform.

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Employment policy in South East Europe

This chapter on employment assesses the policy settings, strategies, processes and institutions in six South East European economies. After a brief overview of employment trends and performance in South East Europe, the chapter then focuses on four essential sub-dimensions. The first sub-dimension, labour market governance, analyses the capacity of key labour market institutions and strategies to ensure high-quality jobs and develop flexible, inclusive and proactive labour markets. The second, activation policy, assesses activation measures and institutions and their ability to bring jobseekers and disadvantaged groups into the labour force and into jobs. The third, job quality, analyses policy measures that contribute to the well-being of workers by looking at earnings quality, labour market security and quality of the working environment. The final sub-dimension, social economy, explores government efforts to promote the social economy and an environment conducive to social enterprises. The chapter includes suggestions for enhancing the policies in each of these sub-dimensions in order to improve employment policy, which in turn would foster the competitiveness of these economies.

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