Publications

Online article: A Skill-specific Dynamic Labour Supply and Labour Demand Framework

Online article: A Skill-specific Dynamic Labour Supply and Labour Demand Framework: A Scenario Analysis for the Western Balkan Countries to 2030 by Leitner

This paper pursues a scenario analysis to shed light on past and potential future labour supply and labour demand dynamics of different skill groups in the six Western Balkan countries (WB6). It differentiates between four educational levels (low, medium-general, medium-VET, and high) and looks at a medium-term projection period until 2030. Starting from a baseline scenario, it examines how several different scenarios would affect the employment situation of different skill groups. Read more

Online article: Labor Market Outcomes in Montenegro

Online article: Labor Market Outcomes in Montenegro: Challenges and Policy Options by International Monetary Fund

This study provides a set of explanations to understand the observed labor market outcomes in Montenegro, which are weak by European standards. After providing stylized facts for the inactivity rate, (long-term) unemployment rate, and informal employment, this study presents a discussion covering the following dimensions: (i) level of employment protection; (ii) level of labor taxation; (iii) pace of wage growth, including the minimum wage; and (iv) non-employment income support and activation policies. Read more

Report: Policies for human capital development: Eastern Partnership

Report: Policies for human capital development: Eastern Partnership: an ETF Torino Process assessment by Deij

The present regional report for the Eastern Partnership is the result of the fifth round of the Torino Process (2018-2020). The report coincides with the planning for the Eastern Partnership post-2020 policy framework and aims to provide a solid basis for regional policy dialogue between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on human capital development issues. It is designed to support medium- to longer-term strategic thinking in VET, looks into the regional aspects of education outcomes, and discusses commonalities while respecting the differences between the countries of the region. The report provides a summary of key policy updates, data and information, including an overview of countries’ progress against key EU benchmarks and donor contributions to human capital in the region. Read more

Online article: Active ageing in the time of COVID-19 with references to European and post-Soviet countries

Online article: Active ageing in the time of COVID-19 with references to European and post-Soviet countries by Sidorenko

This paper discusses the aspects of active ageing policies in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article begins with a brief overview of the evolution of the concepts and content of the active ageing policy. What follows is a brief overview of the situation of older people during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the concluding part, the author introduces proposals for adapting the policy of active ageing to the new realities
of the (post)pandemic world. Read more

Book chapter: Austerity, populism and welfare retrenchment in Central and South Eastern Europe

Book chapter: Austerity, populism and welfare retrenchment in Central and South Eastern Europe by Lendvai-Bainton et al.

This chapter explores austerity and welfare retrenchment in Central and South Eastern Europe, with a selective focus on Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic together with parts of the post-Yugoslav space (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia), exploring the key drivers of welfare reforms during and after the 2007-8 economic and financial crisis. The chapter anchors austerity, taken as a systematic and deliberate form of welfare restructuring as a consequence of fiscal consolidation and debt reduction by the state, around four key nodes: rising populism, ethnicized nationalism, political authoritarianism and re-embedded neoliberalism. Read more

Online article: Evaluating the Involvement of Social Partners in Tackling Undeclared Work in the Western Balkans

Online article: Evaluating the Involvement of Social Partners in Tackling Undeclared Work in the Western Balkans by Williams

Although enforcement authorities play a key role in tackling undeclared work, social partners also have an interest in preventing undeclared work. Employer federations wish to tackle the unfair competition that results from other businesses operating in the undeclared economy and trade unions wish to protect declared workers and tackle unscrupulous employers who use undeclared employment. Read more

Book: Does EU Membership Facilitate Convergence? The Experience of the EU’s Eastern Enlargement

Book: Does EU Membership Facilitate Convergence? The Experience of the EU’s Eastern Enlargement Vol 2. by Landesmann et al. Read more

Book: Does EU Membership Facilitate Convergence? The Experience of the EU’s Eastern Enlargement

Book: Does EU Membership Facilitate Convergence? The Experience of the EU’s Eastern Enlargement Vol 1. by Landesmann et al. Read more

Book chapter: Perspectives on the Analysis and Development of Social Policies in Azerbaijan

Book chapter: Perspectives on the Analysis and Development of Social Policies in Azerbaijan by Bayramov et al.

In this study, socio-economic processes in Azerbaijan, development trends, the scale of existing social policies and the level of adaptation of international experiences have been studied. There have been times when initiatives were undertaken to develop certain elements of Islamic banking in the Azerbaijani economy, but there are no mechanisms derived from Islam in social policy. In current social policies it is possible to observe elements of the Islamic-social model, such as poverty alleviation, fair distribution of income, overall welfare, and care for vulnerable people. However, Azerbaijan’s social protection system is not considered as an Islamic model. Read more

Working Paper17: Ideas and ReflectionsAbout the Application and Elaboration of the Social Quality Approach (Sqa) in Central & EasternEuropean countries: The Case of Ukraine

Working Paper 17: Ideas and Reflections About the Application and Elaboration of the Social Quality Approach (Sqa) in Central and Eastern European countries: The Case of Ukraine

Starting Points of the previous international Joint Research Project Ukraine (INRU project), as well as new SQA-Projects in EuropeSouth-East Asia, Australia and Beyond

The IASQ’s working papers are outcomes of preliminary research and provisional discussions about topics, concerning the Social Quality Theory (SQT) and Approach (SQA).The present working paper is an outcome of a dialogue between scholars from Ukraine and scholars from member states of the European Union. The initiative for this in fact globally oriented dialogue has comefrom the Institute for Economics and Forecast of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (IEF/NASU). Read more

InCARE Policy Brief no.1: Promoting Social Innovation in long-term care

InCARE Policy Brief no. 1: Promoting Social Innovation in long-term care: A common narrative for change across Europe by Ilinca et al. 

In support of policy-makers and organizational stakeholders that wish to engage directly in the implementation of social innovation initiatives in LTC, the InCARE project team has derived the key lessons arising from a decade of European experiences – with a focus on doing rather than analysing social innovation. Read more

Western Balkan Countries Factsheets

Western Balkan Countries Factsheets by various authors

Factsheets for the Western Balkan Countries are now available on the MSCA Website. They contain facts and figures about Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the respective countries:

  • key facts and figures (2014 – 2020)
  • the numbers of organisation participations and the budget awarded to them, as well as the number of researcher mobilities involving these organisations
  • rankings among the countries’ respective country groups (AC or OCAF) concerning success rates, read more

Online publication: Decentralisation and Local Public Administration Reform in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

Online publication: Decentralisation and Local Public Administration Reform in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine: Learning from the past – preparing for the future by Schantl et al. 

The Publication and Status Reports on the Progress of Decentralisation Reform in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine aim to consolidate lessons learned over three decades of reform and help the local government associations prepare for the reform next steps in their countries. Read more

EC Country Reports: GENDER ANALYSIS 2020 for the Western Balkans

EC Country Reports: GENDER ANALYSIS 2020 for the Western Balkans

This is the third Kvinna till Kvinna Gender Analysis of EC Country Reports for the Western Balkans. The aim is to show progress year on year in the gender-mainstreaming of the Country Reports and attempt to identify areas where a gender perspective can be further strengthened across different chapters of the reports, beyond the fundamental rights section and the Chapter on Social Policy and Employment. This year, the report also includes country-specific recommendations on priorities to be addressed in the 2021 Country Reports. Read more

Online article: Working with marginalized groups: towards more holistic strategies for social exclusion reduction of the Roma community in Kosovo

Online article: Working with marginalized groups: towards more holistic strategies for social exclusion reduction of the Roma community in Kosovo by Balidemaj

This paper aims to identify the successful strategies, through literature review, to be used in Kosovo to help integrate the Roma community and to reduce the community’s overall social exclusion. This paper further examines the gaps between strategies and implementation results in reducing the social exclusion of the Roma through experiences of other European countries with similar political and socio-economic history as Kosovo. Read more

POW-BRIDGE Country Reports: Posting of Workers Directive’s interplay with national regulations

POW-BRIDGE Country Reports: Posting of Workers Directive’s interplay with national regulations

In the frame of the POW-BRIDGE, we have conducted eight case studies and published eight country reports on Austria, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The country reports present how the Posting of Workers Directive interplay with national rules and regulations on social security, health insurance, temporary agency work, and company law. They identify existing gaps in implementation and practice from the perspective of public authorities, social partners and employers and provide recommendations on how to address these gaps. Read the reports

Report: The UN Common Country Analysis for the Republic of Moldova 2020

Report: The UN Common Country Analysis for the Republic of Moldova 2020 by the UN Moldova Country Team

The United Nations Common Country Analysis for The Republic of Moldova (UN CCA) analyses the country’s socio-economic development and political context, along with critical challenges and root causes, and has been conducted jointly by United Nations organizations working in the Republic of Moldova. Read more

Online article: Every child matters? Ambivalences and convergences in migration management and child protection in Albania

Online article: Every child matters? Ambivalences and convergences in migration management and child protection in Albania by Vathi et al.

Based on fieldwork with policymakers and service providers in Albania, a middle-to-high income country with a significant history of emigration, this paper aims to shed light on the interaction of these institutional and policy domains and the impact they have on professional practice. The State’s impact on migrant children’s rights at the domestic level is affected by the resourcefulness of its system of social and child protection. Read more

Online article: Factor structure and internal consistency of the ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool Parent Version (ICAST-P) in a cross-country pooled data set in nine Balkan countries

Online article: Factor structure and internal consistency of the ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool Parent Version (ICAST-P) in a cross-country pooled data set in nine Balkan countries by Meinck et al.

Researchers are increasingly using parental report measures in population-based surveys of violence against children. No research thus far has examined the factor structure of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) Child Abuse Screening Tool Parent Version (ICAST-P), a non-commercialized measure for prevalence studies. Read more

Policy brief: Monitoring the progress of the Western Balkan countries regarding the European Pillar of Social Rights

Policy brief: Monitoring the progress of the Western Balkan countries regarding the European Pillar of Social Rights by Kahlert

The progress on the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) has not only been monitored in EU countries, but also in Western Balkan countries. Some progress in social indicators has been recorded in the last few years, but welfare and labour market outcomes remain generally weak in the region. In this policy brief we focus on the six 2020 reports covering EPSR indicators in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, & Serbia. Read more

Online article: The effect of increasing the minimum wage on poverty and inequality in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Online article: The effect of increasing the minimum wage on poverty and inequality in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Amela

The minimum wage, as a labour market policy with distributive impact, is widely debated in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). This paper estimates the effect of increasing the minimum wage on poverty and income inequality in BiH, providing the first empirical evidence on the minimum wage in the country. Using data from the Household Budget Survey (HBS) for 2015, the effects of four changes (two per entity) in the minimum wage were simulated using the microsimulation model BiHMOD. Read more

Online article: Youth Underemployment in the Western Balkans: A Multidimensional Approach

Online article: Youth Underemployment in the Western Balkans: A Multidimensional Approach by Petreski et al.

When a worker works at most 35 hours a week and wants to work more, he is said to be underemployed. In addition, when his skills are underutilized, there is uncertainty about the job, he is underpaid and there is lack of formal working conditions, he is said to be multidimensionally underemployed. This paper analyzes youth underemployment multidimensionality and its effect on wages in three Western Balkan countries: North Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Our empirical approach controls for sample-selection bias and endogeneity through internally-generated instruments. The findings suggest that intensifying underemployment along the multidimensional scale reduces wage on average by 7.6%. The effect is the strongest in North Macedonia, followed by Montenegro and Serbia. Read more

Online article: Every Child Matters? Ambivalences and Convergences in Migration Management and Child Protection in Albania

Online article: Every Child Matters? Ambivalences and Convergences in Migration Management and Child Protection in Albania by Vathi et al.

Research on the intersection between migration management and child protection is limited and, yet, contradictions between these two domains and ambivalence in the area of child migrants’ rights across the developed world have already been highlighted. Based on fieldwork with policymakers and service providers in Albania, a middle-to-high income country with a significant history of emigration, this paper aims to shed light on the interaction of these institutional and policy domains and the impact they have on professional practice. The State’s impact on migrant children’s rights at the domestic level is affected by the resourcefulness of its system of social and child protection. Read more

Online article: Restructuring Institutional Care: Challenges and Coping Measures for Children and Caregivers in Post-COVID-19 Era

Online article: Restructuring Institutional Care: Challenges and Coping Measures for Children and Caregivers in Post-COVID-19 Era by Roy

The article explores the dynamics of the institutional care of the out-of-home care (OHC) children, adolescents and children who are residing in alternative care homes, childcare institutes (CCIs), foster homes and who are in conflict with law like refugees or in juvenile correctional centres. The article attempts to highlight the risk factors and systematic barriers that CCIs and associated functionaries have been confronting in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. It would also catalogue the remedial, preventive and protective initiatives undertaken as best practices. Read more

Review: Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection

Review: Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection by Bakrania et al. – Lessons Learned from a Rapid Review in the Context of COVID-19

This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities. The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, is extremely limited. Read more

Report: Coping with COVID-19: mapping education and training responses to the health crisis in ETF partner countries

Report: Coping with COVID-19: mapping education and training responses to the health crisis in ETF partner countries by the European Training Foundation

This report focuses on how 27 countries neighbouring the European Union (EU) are coping with [Coronavirus Disease 2019] COVID-19 in the field of education and training, as part of the #learningconnects campaign. The report includes information about countries from South Eastern Europe and Turkey, the Eastern Partnership and Russia, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, and Central Asia on: (1) support for teachers and trainers through multiple channels; (2) access to internet and outreach measures considering equality, opportunities and digital literacy; (3) decisions regarding examinations, certification and validation; (4) school autonomy in organising digital and online learning; and (5) addressing vocational education and training beyond general education subjects. Read more

Book: Migration in the Western Balkans. What do we know?

Book: Migration in the Western Balkans. What do we know? By King et al.

The book explores issues such as the complex geopolitics of the region, the relationship between migration and development, diasporas, and refugees and humanitarianism. Read more

Online Article: Youth Underemployment in the Western Balkans: A Multidimensional Approach

Online Article: Youth Underemployment in the Western Balkans: A Multidimensional Approach by Petreski et al.

This paper analyzes youth underemployment multidimensionality and its effect on wages in three Western Balkan countries: North Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Read more

Online Article: The ‘refugee crisis’ and its transformative impact on EU-Western Balkans relations

Online Article: The ‘refugee crisis’ and its transformative impact on EU-Western Balkans relations by Webb 

This article explores to what extent the securitisation of the refugee crisis led to policy changes and the consequence of these changes on EU relations with the countries of North Macedonia and Serbia. Read more

Report: Posting of Third Country Nationals – A comparative study

Report: Posting of Third Country Nationals – A comparative study by Cukut Krilić at al.

The study compares the findings from three Con3Post regional reports on mobility and posting flows between EU-sending, EU-receiving and third countries, namely Slovenia, Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina; Italy, Belgium, Tunisia and Morocco; and Poland, Finland, Estonia and Ukraine. The study explores the main characteristics of the trend of posting of third country nationals (TCN) to work in the EU construction sector. Read more

Book: The Palgrave Handbook of Family Policy

Book: The Palgrave Handbook of Family Policy by Nieuwenhuis & Van Lancker

This open access handbook provides a multilevel view on family policies, combining insights on family policy outcomes at different levels of policymaking: supra-national organizations, national states, sub-national or regional levels, and finally smaller organizations and employers. Read more

Online Article: Voices of Central and Eastern Europe: Perceptions of democracy & governance in 10 EU countries

Online Article: Voices of Central and Eastern Europe: Perceptions of democracy & governance in 10 EU countries by Hajdu & Klingová.

GLOBSEC’s new report Voices of Central and Eastern Europe: Perceptions of democracy & governance in 10 EU countriesprovides a unique insight into satisfaction with democracy and current governance systems in 10 Central and Eastern European countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Read more

2020 Updated Reviews: on the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans

2020 Updated Reviews: on the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans

The European Centre updated the existing reviews on the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, and Serbia. The European Centre had already been engaged as international expert organization in the original reviews prepared in 2018. On behalf of the Regional Cooperation Council, the European Centre team was working with country experts and provided quality assurance to ensure that the reports were of high quality, consistent, clear, accurate, sourced, appropriate and timely. Read or download the six reports for 2020 here.

Journal Article: The European Union’s ‘Potential We’ between Acceptance and Contestation

Journal Article: The European Union’s ‘Potential We’ between Acceptance and Contestation: Assessing the Positioning of Six Eastern Partnership Countries by Vieira

In this journal article, Vieira analyses the European neighbourhood policy and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) from the perspective of social identity theory.  Drawing on the framing analysis of strategic documents and statements, which identifies eight distinct themes, the contribution ascertains three different patterns of EaP states’ interaction with the EU: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine accepting the ‘EU’s potential we’, Armenia holding to the potential we, and Azerbaijan, as well as Belarus, contesting the potential we. Read more

Journal Article: How does Informal Transnational Social Protection Bond Families Across Boarders?

Journal Article: How does Informal Transnational Social Protection Bond Families Across Boarders? The Case of Albanian Migrants and their Transnational Families by Dhembo

In this journal article Dhembo looks at the case of Albanian migrants and their transnational families to reconfirm old patterns and sketch new trends in informal transnational protection practices which construct main fundamental ties holding transnational families together and are key in building and strengthening intergenerational solidarity among Albanian migrants and their left behind family and kin. Read more

Book chapter: Labour Mobility & OSH Vulnerability of Posted Workers

Book chapter: Labour Mobility & OSH Vulnerability of Posted Workers by Danaj et al.

In this chapter, S. Danaj, K. Hollan, and A. Scoppetta focus on the occupational safety and health (OSH) of temporary cross-border labour migrants posted to Austria and the Slovak Republic. Based on empirical interview data with public authorities, social partners and workers in both countries, they explain how cross-border temporary labour mobility exposes posted workers to OSH-related vulnerabilities through an analytical framework. Read more

Policy Brief: Here, not to stay! The posting of third country nationals to Austria

Policy Brief: Here, not to stay! The posting of third country nationals to Austria by Danaj et al.

This Policy Brief describes the trend of the posting of third-country workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina via Slovenia to Austria and its drivers. It also discusses why workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina agree to be posted via Slovenia to work in Austria, the challenges they face and the impact posting has on the host country. The Brief concludes with recommendations on how the observed problems could be addressed. Read here

Report: Serbia 2020

Report: Serbia 2020 Report by the European Commission

The European Commission has published 2020 Enlargement Packagew which contains detailed assessment of the state of play in each candidate country and potential candidate, what has been achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities. Read here

Report: North Macedonia 2020

Report: North Macedonia Report 2020 by the European Commission

The European Commission has published 2020 Enlargement Packagew which contains detailed assessment of the state of play in each candidate country and potential candidate, what has been achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities. Read here

 

Report: Montenegro 2020

Report: Montenegro 2020 Report by the European Commission

The European Commission has published 2020 Enlargement Packagew which contains detailed assessment of the state of play in each candidate country and potential candidate, what has been achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities. Read here

Report: Kosovo 2020

Report: Kosovo 2020 Report 2020 by the European Commission

The European Commission has published 2020 Enlargement Packagew which contains detailed assessment of the state of play in each candidate country and potential candidate, what has been achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities. Read here

Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2020

Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2020 Report by the European Commission

The European Commission has published 2020 Enlargement Packagew which contains detailed assessment of the state of play in each candidate country and potential candidate, what has been achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities. Read here

Report: Albania 2020

Report: Albania 2020 Report by the European Commission

The European Commission has just published 2020 Enlargement Package. The package contains the Reports in which the Commission services present their detailed assessment of the state of play in each candidate country and potential candidate, what has been achieved over the last year, and set out guidelines on reform priorities. Read here

Survey: South-East European local Governments Inpost Covid19 Socio-Economic Recovery

Survey: South-East European local Governments Inpost Covid19 Socio-Economic Recovery by NALAS

Within the BACID programme NALAS and KDZ implemented a study on Covid19. 150 mayors and local government representatives havev been interviewed for this study and reveal the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities and municipalities in South-East Europe. Also good practices and recommendations for the socio-economic recovery on local level are provided. Read more

Online article: Coronavirus: why central and eastern European countries seem to be running out of luck

Online article: Coronavirus: why central and eastern European countries seem to be running out of luck

Central and eastern European countries emerged as unlikely champions of Europe’s first wave. Their total death rates have been far lower than in larger and richer western European countries. This was unexpected since the region’s health systems are underfunded and understaffed compared to the west. The early success of central and eastern European countries in containing COVID-19 now appears to be a double-edged sword. Read more

Policy Brief: Tracking Policy Responses to COVID-19: Opportunities, Challenges and Solutions

Policy Brief: Tracking Policy Responses to COVID-19: Opportunities, Challenges and Solutions by Daly et al.

Governments have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by adopting a wide range of policy measures with different effects on infection rates and deaths, but also varying socio-economic consequences. The Oxford Supertracker at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention (DSPI) aims to provide a global online directory of relevant policy trackers that have been developed to monitor policies and individual preferences in respect to Covid-19 across countries.

Trackers vary widely in terms of policy fields, country coverage, types of authors and users. The Supertracker provides an online directory that brings together data sources on (1) deaths and cases of Covid-19, (2) policies to prevent the spread of Covid-19, (3) preferences and behavioural responses of individuals, and (4) policies seeking to mitigate or compensate for the consequences of Covid-19. Read more

Book: Mitigating the COVID-19 effect Emergency economic policy-making in Central Europe

Book: Mitigating the COVID-19 effect Emergency economic policy-making in Central Europe by Podvršič et al.

This paper analyses the economic policy-making in the first phase of the epidemic in five Central Europe countries, Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia, whose economic structure is characterized by strong export orientation. The focus is on the participatory character of the governments’ COVID-19 packages, on their design, and targets. Read more

Report: Albania: first national policy document on ageing

Report: Albania: first national policy document on ageing by Jorgoni

With its National Action Plan on Ageing (NAPA) 2020-2024, Albania introduces a series of measures and actions that aim to ensure a healthy long life and provide full coverage of health and social services for elderly
persons in need. Read more here

Report: The Social and Economic Effects of COVID-19 on Children in North Macedonia

Report: The Social and Economic Effects of COVID-19 on Children in North Macedonia by Petreski et al.

The pandemic caused by the global spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 (hereafter: the pandemic or Covid-19) is harming social, educational and health wellbeing of children, with the most vulnerable being hit the hardest. Children are being impacted directly, through school, extracurricular and childcare facilities closures, social distancing and confinement, which puts a heavy burden on their educational, cognitive and emotional development, with the risk of increasing their anxiety and stress levels. Children are also being impacted indirectly, through the reduction of household incomes, which reduces their material and social wellbeing, impairs access to social and healthcare, while also exposing the hardest hit to risks malnutrition. Read more

Technical report: EU Candidate Countries’ & Potential Candidates’ Economic Quarterly (CCEQ)

Technical report: EU Candidate Countries’ & Potential Candidates’ Economic Quarterly (CCEQ) by the European Commission

An overview of economic developments in candidate and pre-candidate countries.

The disruptive effects of the COVID-19crisisontheWestern Balkaneconomies became visible already in the first quarter of 2020, with annual GDP growth decelerating notably to 2.5%from 4.3%in the preceding quarter. The slowdownwas largely driven bya deepening recession in Albania anda decelerationin Serbiaand in North Macedonia. Private consumption remained the key growth driverbutinvestment showed a mixed performance, with year-on-year declines registered in some of the countries. The region’scurrent account deficit stood at6%of GDP, the highest level in the last 5 years, suggesting that external positions in many economies remain vulnerable. Read more

Journal article: The Social Exclusion of Persons with Disabilities from Tertiary Education: Targeting Barriers depending on the Type of Disability based on the Findings of a Qualitative Study

Journal article: The Social Exclusion of Persons with Disabilities from Tertiary Education: Targeting Barriers depending on the Type of Disability based on the Findings of a Qualitative Study by Nikolajević

In this paper, we primarily dealt with the low representation of persons with disabilities in the tertiary education system and targeted specific barriers that keep people with disabilities outside the tertiary education process. The mentioned problem was approached from the perspective of social exclusion and one of the main tasks of the conducted research was to gain insight into the types of barriers that affect persons with different types of disabilities depending on their student status. Read more

Book: The European Union and the Paradox of Enlargement. The Complex Accession of the Western Balkans

Book: The European Union and the Paradox of Enlargement. The Complex Accession of the Western Balkans by Sekulic

This book sheds light on the contradictions underlying the European Union enlargement process, specifically to the Western Balkans, challenging the common assumption that the integration of an extended European space might be possible without mutual transformation of the institutions and agencies involved. Sekulic maps the institutional dimension of the accession process, and analyses how the conditionality principle shapes and constrains the space for negotiation within the EU. Combining ethnographic research with the discourse analysis of the European Commission’s reports and documents from 2008 to 2019 concerning the Western Balkan countries, the book also explores the perceptions and agency of the individuals involved in this process. The European Union and the Paradox of Enlargement will be of interest to students and scholars of European integration, the sociology of Europe and the EU, and Eastern European and Western Balkan studies. Read more

Report: From BiH to Austria via Slovenia: migration and posting of 3rd country nationals

Report: From Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria via Slovenia: migration and posting of third country nationals in the EU by Danaj et al.

In this new study conducted in the frame of the project Con3Post– Posting of Third Country Nationals. Mapping the trend in the construction sector, our colleagues Sonila Danaj and Leonard Geyer in collaboration with the colleagues Sanja Cukut Krilić, Kristina Toplak & Mojca Vah Jevšnik of the ZRC SAZU – Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Slovenia investigate the main characteristics of the trend of posting third country nationals to work in the EU construction sector. The report focuses on the specific regional labour mobility patterns between Bosnia and Her zegovina (BiH) as a third country, Slovenia as a sending country, and Austria as a receiving country. Read more

Balkan Barometer 2020: Covid-19 impact assessment

Balkan Barometer 2020: Covid-19 impact assessment by RCC

Following the annual issue of the Balkan Barometer survey, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) initiated additional analysis to observe more closely sentiments and perceptions of the general public and the business community in the context of recent developments deriving from COVID-19. In this respect, RCC engaged in data collection and data processing as a basis for snap-shot analysis of the attitudes, experiences and perceptions on the recent developments in six economies. Read more

Policy Brief: The Western Balkans in Times of the Global Pandemic

Policy Brief: The Western Balkans in Times of the Global Pandemic by Bieber et al.

The global COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by governments around the world constitute a major rupture to the “business as usual”, and this includes the Western Balkans, too. The pandemic has been overshadowing other developments while also accelerating existing trends, and it will continue to do so. This analysis establishes the COVID-19 pandemic as a critical juncture, a crisis that can permanently shake up institutions and societies. There are considerable dangers beyond the impact of the pandemic on human lives, ranging from an economic crisis which could turn out to be worse than the one in 2008/9, to a heightened crisis of democracy and a geopolitical shift. None of these developments are inevitable and some of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the Western Balkans can be mitigated. By exploring nine critical fields, this analysis will highlight ways in which the pandemic and government responses pose particular challenges: 1. The Role of the State, 2. Democracy and State Capture, 3. Geopolitical Shifts,4. New Nationalisms, 5. Social Resilience, 6. Environmental Impact, 7. Migration and Health Care, 8. Health Care and Social Security and 9. Economic Implications. With regard to all of the critical fields, the study examines the impact and outlines possible risks and opportunities before identifying specific interventions that could prevent the worst consequences for the region. Read more

Book: Migration from the Newly Independent States

Book: Migration from the Newly Independent States by M. Denisenko et al.

This book discusses international migration in the newly independent states after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which involved millions of people. Written by authors from 15 countries, it summarizes the population movement over the post-Soviet territories, both within the newly independent states and in other countries over the past 25 years. Read more

Journal article: Partnerships for the Goals: beyond SDG 17

Journal article: Partnerships for the Goals: beyond SDG 17 by L. Stott & A. Scoppetta

The article positions partnership as central to meeting the targets of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that make up the United Nations Agenda for 2030 with Goal 17, ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, often described as pivotal to the transformational efforts required for its realisation. In view of this, Goal 17’s limited vision of partnership and its potential contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is disappointing. This article suggests that partnership needs to be articulated as a more vibrant vehicle for supporting the transformations needed to attain the Goals. This requires acknowledgement of the need for deeper multi-level and multi-actor relationships; the promotion of collective accountability for achieving the SDGs; and a stronger evidence base for partnership policy-making with more robust mutual exchange and learning. Read more

Journal article: Theory and practice of aging upon covid-19 pandemic

Journal article: Theory and practice of aging upon covid-19 pandemic by A. Sidorenko & A. Golubev

Never before in history aging has been such a significant factor for epidemics as it is now for the current COVID-19 pandemic, which features a drastic shift of mortality towards older ages. Our analysis of data on COVID-19-related mortality in Spain, Italy, and Sweden has shown that, in the range of 30 to 90 years of age, each dependency of the logarithm of mortality upon age is linear, and all regression lines are strictly parallel to those related to the total mortality in accordance with the Gompertz law. In all cases, irrespective of the stage and place of epidemic, mortality doubling time in this age range is close to 7,5 years. The rates of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and of being diagnosed due to the symptomatic manifestations of the infection are dependent on age to a far lesser degree. With account for these observations, three messages are put forth:

1) Older persons are the principal victims of both SARSCoV-2 and measures undertaken to control its spread;

2) Older persons are not the principal driving force of SARS-CoV-2 spread;

3) Older persons can and should be engaged in combating the pandemic and its consequences; however, not via selective social distancing and other discriminative measures.

People aged over 65 years constitute a significant part of the current population. They have specific interests and needs, which deserve no less respect than those of any other age group. This includes the right for the quality of life that remains sustained under the emergency conditions. Since the prospects for controlling the SARS-CoV-2 are dubious, those in charge of decisions concerning «people aged above 65» should mind that currently, unlike in the medieval ages, 65+ is the individual future of almost everyone.

Report: Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, No. 17, Spring 2020: The Economic and Social Impact of COVID-19

Report: Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, No. 17, Spring 2020: The Economic and Social Impact of COVID-19 by the World Bank

In Spring 2020, Western Balkan countries – like most others in the world—have been forced to impose tight restrictions on economic life to contain the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. In the first half of 2020, the world has seen explosive growth of infections with the deadly novel virus. As country after country has been forced to shut down large areas of social and economic life to slow contagion, the Western Balkans have not been spared. Read more

Report: TVET Systems’ Response to COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities

Report: TVET Systems’ Response to COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities by the World Bank

This note focuses on the role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides guidance on reducing the adverse impact of the pandemic on TVET provision and enhancing the contribution TVET can make to mitigating the health, social, and economic impact of COVID-19. Read more

Report: COVID-19 and the World of Work: Rapid Assessment of the Employment Impacts and Policy Responses. North Macedonia

Report: COVID-19 and the World of Work: Rapid Assessment of the Employment Impacts and Policy Responses. North Macedonia by the ILO in collaboration with EBRD

The ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) established a joint task force to assess the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the region’s economies. The EBRD/ILO Task Force was invited by the Economic and Social Council in North Macedonia in 2020 to support the development of policy responses when the public health threat developed into a global pandemic with economic consequences. Read more

Report: OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19 crisis response in Eastern Partner countries

Report: OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19 crisis response in Eastern Partner countries by the OECD

This note considers the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Eastern Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine). It analyses the economic and social impacts, as well as policy responses to contain the spread of the virus and help households and businesses weather the crisis. Finally, a menu of policy options is considered for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the short and medium terms, with a particular focus on digitalisation. Read more

Report: OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19 crisis response in South East European economies

Report: OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19 crisis response in South East European economies by the OECD

More than 16,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the South East Europe1 (SEE) region as of 14 April. As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow rapidly in SEE, governments have been gradually announcing states of emergency, lockdowns and partial shutdowns to contain the spread of the virus. Coronavirus measures resulted in suspended flights, partial border closures, domestic travel restrictions and school shutdowns across the region. Government authorities banned large gatherings and imposed travel restrictions. Serbia and North Macedonia have cancelled their respective general elections scheduled for April. Read more

Policy Brief: Unleashing transformation through partnerships: The lost potential of SDG 17

Policy Brief: Unleashing transformation through partnerships: The lost potential of SDG 17 by A. Scoppetta & L. Stott

This Policy Brief analyses how partnership is understood and promoted in European Union regulations and programmes. The central argument of the brief is that a much deeper understanding of partnership than that presented in the Sustainable Development Goal 17 ‘Partnership for the Goals’ is required to meet the transformational ambition of the UN Agenda 2030 in Europe and beyond. Available here

Report: Life and society in the EU candidate countries

Report: Life and society in the EU candidate countries by Eurofound

This report is based on the Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) and focuses on the five current EU candidate countries – Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey, which were included in the 2016 wave of the EQLS. The report reviews three broad areas – quality of life, quality of public services and quality of society – and covers indicators on: subjective well-being, standard of living, aspects of deprivation and the work–life balance; healthcare, long-term care, childcare and other public services; social insecurity, perceptions of social exclusion and societal tensions, trust in people and institutions, participation and community engagement, and involvement in training. Available here

Book: Fiscal Decentralisation, Local Government and Policy Reversals in Southeastern Europe

Book: Fiscal Decentralisation, Local Government and Policy Reversals in Southeastern Europe by by Will Bartlett et al.

This edited collection provides a comprehensive geographic and chronological overview of the decentralisation processes in the successor states of former Yugoslavia and Albania during their transition and EU integration years, from 1990 until 2016. The contributors enrich the wider literature on fiscal decentralisation in transition countries by exploring several broad questions on democratisation, the political economy of post-communist transition, the role of external actors in policy transfer and the issue of financial stability in the post-crisis period. Details here

Book: Social Policy, Poverty, and Inequality in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

Book: Social Policy, Poverty, and Inequality in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union by Sofiya An et al.

This edited volume maps the developments and trajectories of welfare states in several post-socialist countries and discusses the outcomes of prioritizing economic growth over social welfare. Authors from different disciplines address key aspects of social protection including health care, poverty reduction measures, active labour market policies, pension systems, and child welfare systems across Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. Details here

Book: Extended Working Life Policies

Book: Extended Working Life Policies by Áine Ní Léime, et al.

This open access volume addresses the current debate on extended working life policy by considering the influence of gender and health on the experiences of older workers. Bringing together an international team of scholars, it tackles issues as gender, health status and job/ occupational characteristics that structure the capacity and outcomes associated with working longer in various contexts. Details here

Future-Oriented Welfare State Policies in the Western Balkans

The Western Balkans Network The Future of the Welfare State (FWS), utilising the Open Method of Coordination as a tool and the EU Pillar for Social Rights as a relevant policy framework, initiates coordination in education, social protection and social inclusion in the Western. Read more here.

Peer Review Slovenia Key Messages

The peer review focused on occupational safety and health of posted workers (OSH) in the European Union (EU), an issue that only recently has received some attention. The presentations and discussions during the peer review focused on the legal framework at both the EU level and the national levels. OSH related vulnerabilities of posted workers were systematically analysed and explained, and employer’s role and responsibilities in relation to the OSH of posted workers discussed. As an illustrative example, a case of a work accident of a posted worker from Slovenia was presented. After the Slovenian case, the Italian and German cases were introduced. Discussions during the working groups additionally addressed legal and health care mechanism and practices in case of work-related accidents. Furthermore, ideas and suggestions on measures to prevent or reduce OSH-related vulnerabilities were exchanged. Read more about the project here.

Demographic transition and demographic security in post-Soviet countries

The review-and-analytical article deals with the interrelation between demographic transition and national security. The focus is on the countries of the former Soviet Union. It proves that along with two traditional approaches of population policy, i.e. prevention and overcoming of negative consequences of demographic transition, measures of adjustment to demographic change are acquiring increasing importance. Read here

Needs assessment of the posting of Workers Directive in the Western Balkans published

The needs assessment conducted in the frame of the EEPOW Project provides a review of the capacities of the four candidate countries of the Western Balkans, namely Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, to implement the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC). The findings indicate that the Directive has been partially transposed into national law and more needs to be done in terms of structures, human resources, and the engagement of the stakeholders in the process.

New policy briefs on posting in the Western Balkans

In the frame of the Posting of Workers in Eastern Europe (EEPOW) project, four policy briefs have been published on the existing institutional capacities as well as their needs and requirements for the full transposition and implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) into the national legislation of the candidate countries, namely Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. In order for the briefs to be accessible to national practitioners and general audiences, each brief is also going to be published in the local languages by our project partners.

Albanian profile on working life published

Eurofound has just published the working life in Albania country profile prepared by our colleague Sonila Danaj. The profile presents an overview of the current industrial relations and working conditions in the country. This is the first time that a working life country profile was prepared for Albania.

New Policy brief: Language barriers and the occupational safety & health of posted workers

In this new Policy brief, the authors present language barriers faced by posted workers in nine European Union countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) and discuss the implications these may have for their occupational safety and health (OSH). As the fastest-growing form of temporary cross-border labour mobility in the EU, posted workers are faced with language barriers which significantly limit the capacity of posted workers to realise and exercise their employment rights, including health and safety rights. The Brief offers recommendations for policy that could help reduce OSH risks many posted workers are exposed to due to language barriers.

Posting of Workers in the Candidate Countries

The four case studies on Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia focus on examining the existing legal and regulatory framework, governance indicators, human capacities as well as the institutional arrangement, inter-agency cooperation and stakeholder engagement with regard to the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) in these candidate countries of Eastern Europe. Downloadable here

New publication: Western Balkan Labor Market Trends 2018

Read the new publication from the the World Bank and the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) on the Western Balkan labor market trends.

Russian versus European welfare attitudes

The new report of the PAWCER project presents welfare attitudes in Russia and the European countries. It covers public support for changes in social protection systems as well as in current social policies. The vulnerable groups include: the poor and concern about income redistribution, the unemployed and unemployment benefits, the elderly and public pensions, working parents and childcare, as well as migrants and accessibility to social rights. See project here

New policy brief: Integrated Case Management for Employment and Social Welfare Users in the Western Balkan economies

This policy brief provides insights into the application of integrated case management by Public Employment Services and Social Services institutions in the Western Balkans. The authors describe the status quo of case management and cooperative practices in the region and discuss the potentials and caveats of implementing integrated case management in such contexts. Based on current practices in the individual countries as well as the lessons learned from EU member states that have developed their own ICM models, the development of Integrated Case Management Standards agreed upon jointly among all actors across all countries is recommended. ICM models, however, should take into account local requirements and make best use of available resident potentials.

Read more about the project

New policy brief: Decentralization of social services in Kosovo: policy challenges and recommendations

This policy brief aims to provide a brief overview of the current decentralization of social services in Kosovo. The authors address the present challenges faced by Centres for Social Work and non-governmental organizations and provide policy and practice recommendations to make the decentralization process fully operational to the benefit of the most vulnerable groups in the population. Read more here

Guidelines and toolkit on integrated case management for Employment and Social Welfare Users in the Western Balkan economies

The guidelines and toolkit presented here are intended to assist Public Employment Services and Centres for Social Welfare in the Western Balkans to build up integrated case management systems. Integrated case management is understood as an innovative practice which is employed especially by these two institutions collectively to serve the most vulnerable with all available resources from both the labour market and the social assistance system, and even beyond. To enhance the inclusiveness of labour markets, the engagement of other actors is also necessary. The guidelines thus recommend the setting up of integrated case management systems that are embedded in partnership structures. The toolkit, an integrative part of this paper, furthermore offers all necessary resources to provide a quick reference resource for policymakers during the implementation of integrated case management.

Read more about the project

Comparative report on integrated case management for employment and social welfare users in the Western Balkans

This comparative report on integrated case management for employment and social welfare users analyses the legal, policy and institutional framework for collaborative approaches and the practices applied by national and local actors as a basis on which to build up an integrated case management system in the Western Balkans. Integrated case management is understood as innovative practice employed by the Public Employment Service and Centres for Social Welfare in the countries and territories collectively to serve the most vulnerable with all available resources from both the labour market and the social assistance system.

Champions are identified and recommendations provided that should help partnerships to flourish at the interface of labour market and social policy. The report shows that there is a lack of well-established partnerships practising integrated case management in the Western Balkans and that Territorial Employment Pacts are a model well-suited to providing an overall frame for an integrated case management system in the Western Balkans.

Read more about the project

New Publication: Bridge Building Workshop papers

The publication “Bridge Building: Knowledge Exchange in Social Welfare Policy and Research -Innovative Approaches in Labour Market Policy and Health and Long-Term Care in Eastern Europe” compiles Workshop papers presented at the launch event ‘Building Bridges in Social Welfare Policy in Eastern Europe’ (19 September 2016; Vienna).  It provides a snapshot of contents for further discussion and, ideally, for mutual learning among the wider European community. It highlights the findings from scholars and experts when examining innovative approaches implemented in their countries. The publication consists of a total of eight papers: four papers offer insights into research and good practice in the field of labour market policy and four papers provide information on findings from the area of health and long-term care.