Challenging unemployment in the Western Balkans: Enhancing active labour market policies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia
The Western Balkan countries are facing difficult economic situation and poor economic governance, which results in high rate of unemployment, placing it among the largest ones in Europe. Thus, in 2014 the unemployment rate in Macedonia was 28% (which is the highest unemployment rate in the region), 27.5% in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 17.5% in Albania. The unemployment problem is exacerbated by a high rate of structural, long-term, unemployment in total unemployment in these countries. Nevertheless, active labour market policies (ALMP), which are considered to be the most effective response to structural unemployment, are not sufficiently developed, are inefficient and include a small number of unemployed people in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. Besides, public spending on active measures is very low compared to the average expenditure in EU 28. Therefore, the reform and improvement of ALMP are necessary in these countries in order to influence the reduction of structural and general unemployment, enhancing their socio-economic performance and contribute to meeting the economic criteria in the process of European integration.
The ultimate goal of the project is to contribute to improvement of active labour market policies and boosting employment in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. More specific objectives of the policy advocacy are: to identify legal, financial, and practical weakness in employment policies which result in their low efficiency and low effectiveness; to inform and expand knowledge of key stakeholders in the field; to empower stakeholders to make informed decisions by providing relevant analysis and feasible policy recommendations in this area; and to put the issue of ALMP on the respective agendas of relevant decision-makers in these three countries.
The main outputs of the project are 3 country-specific policy memos in local languages with the aim to open policy dialogue (1 per country), 2 media articles in each country, joint policy study in English language, 3 policy briefs in local languages based on joint study (1 per country) and round table organized in each country.