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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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Transport policy and performance in South East Europe

This chapter on transport policy and performance assesses the policy settings, strategies, processes and institutions in six South East European economies. After a brief overview of transport competitiveness outcomes in South East Europe (SEE), including the economies’ performance against various global indicators, this chapter then focuses on three essential sub-dimensions that contribute to overall transport performance. The first sub-dimension, planning, measures the extent to which an orderly, coherent, consistent and transparent process is in place for developing transport policy and infrastructure. The second, governance and regulation, determines how well transport infrastructure and networks are regulated and operated, with a focus on rail, aviation and roads. The final sub-dimension, sustainability, measures progress towards resource efficiency, environmental protection, reduction of health impacts and increased road safety. The chapter includes suggestions for enhancing policies in each of these sub-dimensions, in order to improve transport performance and in turn foster the competitiveness of these economies.

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