Economic and Social Development
The Regional Cooperation Council recognizes that the consolidation of prosperous market economies underpinned by adequate social systems represents a cornerstone of development and wellbeing in South East Europe (SEE).
Working under the auspices of the RCC since 2008 – and previously under its predecessor, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe – the countries of South East Europe have constructively engaged in a significant number of joint initiatives aimed at fostering economic development and social cohesion in the region. The financial and technical support of International Financial Institutions, including the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), to name but a few, as well as the support of bilateral donors has been essential in this regard.
The RCC plays an active role in coordinating, facilitating, and providing political support to regional economic initiatives.
Key priorities in the realm of economic development are the transfer and management of the SEE Investment Committee from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to the region and exploring ways and means for improving access to finance for the private sector. On a broad scale, private sector inputs are received through consultations with the Business Advisory Council for SEE. The RCC strongly supports CEFTA 2006 and will continue to provide assistance in specific areas upon request, together with CEFTA’s Secretariat.
In the realm of social development, the RCC supports mainstreaming employment and social agenda into economic reform deliberations. Specifically, improving employment outcomes, streamlining national employment policies across the region and promoting dialogue with social partners are of key importance.
Issues of public health are addressed in the context of the South East European Health Network, an initiative that strives to improve regional public health services.
Bearing in mind the essential linkages existing between the various areas of activity grouped under the umbrella of economic and social development, the RCC Secretariat pays special attention to fostering dialogue and synergy between inter-dependent regional endeavours.
The governments of South East Europe have formally acknowledged the central role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in promoting further economic and social development and catching up with European Union standards and practice. The Electronic South Eastern Europe (eSEE) Initiative, also conducted under the umbrella of the RCC Secretariat’s social and economic development, promotes the introduction of information and communication technologies across the diverse sectors of government, commerce, education, and public life.
The establishment of the Centre for eGovernance Development in Ljubljana – a public-private partnership serving as a single coordination point for eGovernance capacity building throughout the region – and of a SEE ICT forum, produce complementary input into the regional ICT agenda.
RCC and Regional Initiatives and Task Forces in South East Europe