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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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Energy policy in South East Europe

This chapter on energy policy assesses the policy settings, strategies, processes, and institutions in six South East European economies. After a brief overview of energy trends and performance in South East Europe, including the reliability of energy supplies, energy intensity and trends in prices, the chapter then focuses on four essential sub-dimensions. The first, governance and regulation, examines the extent to which overarching energy policy is comprehensive and has clear objectives, and the ability of the national regulatory agency to carry out its critical role. The second sub-dimension, sustainable development, evaluates policies on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The third, energy security, considers policy frameworks for electricity and gas, and emergency and crisis management. Finally the fourth sub-dimension, energy markets, analyses progress towards the formation of a single regional market. The chapter includes suggestions for enhancing the policies in each of these sub-dimensions in order to manage energy well, which in turn would foster the competitiveness of these economies.

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