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 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

EASPD Webinar: Covid-19 EU funding opportunities for non-EU Member States: 17 June, 14h00-15h00 CEST

This webinar aims to gather EU officials and EASPD members from the Western Balkans regions and the Eastern Partnership countries to present the main challenges faced by service providers, and the funding opportunities offered by the EU to address those needs.

The Coronavirus outbreak presents a major challenge to national, regional and local communities which are on the frontline in countering the disease. In the face of the COVID-19 virus, support service providers are taking their own actions to be able to continue to provide essential care & support services to those who need it most.

The COVID-19 crisis has a huge impact worldwide. While the EU has launched its own programmes for EU Member States, its solidarity also reaches the Western Balkans regions and the Eastern Partnership countries via the following measures:

This webinar aims to gather EU officials and EASPD members from the Western Balkans regions and the Eastern Partnership countries to present the main challenges faced by service providers, and the funding opportunities offered by the EU to address those needs.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday 17 June 14h00-15h00 CEST. See Agenda here

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: 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.

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

Western Balkans and Turkey: Joint conclusions of the economic and financial dialogue of 19 May 2020

Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey met for their annual economic policy dialogue. The dialogue aims at preparing the Western Balkans and Turkey for the future participation in the European Semester.

Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey met for their annual economic policy dialogue. The dialogue aims at preparing the Western Balkans and Turkey for the future participation in the European Semester.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic confronts EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey with similar unprecedented major public health, economic and social challenges. Participants agreed that it is crucial to maintain the economic policy dialogue in these exceptional circumstances in view of a commonly coordinated response to the crisis. Participants acknowledged the strong solidarity between the EU and the Western Balkans and Turkey they have been demonstrating by providing medical and financial assistance to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and contributing to address its socio-economic impact in the region. Participants welcomed the measures adopted by the Western Balkans and Turkey to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. They also acknowledged that the adoption of temporary emergency measures should be done in a transparent manner and should not undermine the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights. Participants fully supported the Western Balkans and Turkey in their decisions to allow automatic fiscal stabilisers to accommodate crisis-induced economic fall-outs in 2020. Read more

New project: Updated review of Western Balkan economies regarding the European Pillar of Social Rights

The European Centre is currently updating the existing reviews on issues relevant to the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans.

The European Centre is currently updating the existing reviews on issues relevant to the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, and Serbia. The European Centre was already engaged as international expert organization in the original reviews prepared in 2018. On behalf of the Regional Cooperation Council, the European Centre team is working with country experts and provides quality assurance to ensure that the reports are of high quality, consistent, clear, accurate, sourced, appropriate and in time for the annual meeting of Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs in the Western Balkans in 2020.

Integrated Case Management challenges and opportunities in the Western Balkans

Sonila Danaj presented research on the integration of employment and social services in the Western Balkans at the 5th Conference, Faculty of Economics of the University of Belgrade, 21-22 November 2019.

Our colleague Sonila Danaj presented research led by the Head of Work and Welfare Unit Anette Scoppeta on the integration of employment and social services in the Western Balkans at the 5th Conference organized by the LSEE Research Network on Social Cohesion in South East Europe in collaboration with EBRD Economic and social inclusion in an age of political uncertainty in South East Europe. The event took place at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Belgrade on the 21-22 November 2019. Read about the project.

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