About SEE 2020

Background

As requested by the Western Balkans’ governments, with the support of the European Commission (EC) back in 2011, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) together with national administrations, regional bodies and relevant initiatives have engaged in a collaborative process to prepare a regional competitiveness and growth strategy.

The rationale behind the strategy development was grounded in the region’s profound need to boost prosperity and job creation, while underscoring the European perspective of the region’s future.

The RCC has led the Western Balkans countries in developing a strategy inspired by the European Unions (EU) Europe 2020 Strategy, both in terms of the issues addressed and the concept of expediting progress through better cooperation in areas that are of common interest. The South East European (SEE) equivalent SEE 2020 – Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective Strategy was adopted by seven economies from South East Europe at a conference of Ministers of Economy held in Sarajevo in November 2013. The direct participants in the SEE 2020 are:   Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The Strategy pursues a holistic pattern of development for the region and seeks to stimulate the key long-term drivers of growth such as innovation, skills and the integration of trade. The SEE 2020 is focused on a set of interlinked development pillars all of which are central to the socio-economic policies of each SEE country and are also critical elements of the EU accession process.

In essence, the SEE 2020 Strategy provides a framework to assist governments in the region to implement their individual development strategies, including EU accession related goals, by enhancing national efforts through focused regional cooperation on those specific issues that can benefit from a shared approach.

The meeting of the SEE 2020 Strategy’s Governing Board will be held each year back to back with RCC’s Annual meeting.

SEE 2020 Strategy Goals (Headline Targets)

  • Increase regional GDP PPP (Gross Domestic Product Purchasing Power Parity) per capita from 38% to 46% of theEU-27 average
  • Grow the region’s total value oftrade in goods and services by more than 130%
  • Reduce the region’s trade deficitfrom 14.1 to 11.6 per cent of regional GDP
  • Increase GDP per person employed by32%
  • Add 300,000 highly qualified peopleto the region’s’ workforce
  • Improve governments’ effectivenessas measured by the World Bank Governance Index from 2.33 to 2.9 by 2020
  • Increase net enterprise creation(new businesses per year) from 30,107 to 33,760
  • Increase exports of goods &services per capita from the region from EUR 1,780 to EUR 4,250
  • Increase in the overall employmentrate, as a percentage of the 15+ population, from 39.5% to 44.4%
  • Increase SEE intra-regional trade ingoods by more than 140%
  • Increase overall annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to the region by at least 160%

Graphic overview

Structure

The SEE 2020 strategy has been developed through a de-centralised process whereby specific regional partners are identified in each of the main policy dimensions of the SEE 2020 pillars to champion the activities on the Strategy development within their respective dimension, under RCC’s leadership.

More than a dozen regional structures took part in the development of the Strategy and will be acting as primary coordinators for various policy dimensions of the SEE 2020 implementation.

The goal of the SEE 2020 Strategy is to improve living conditions in the region and enhance competitiveness and development, closely following the vision of the EU strategy Europe 2020 trough 5 pillars comprising of 16 policy dimensions:

1. Integrated Growth (Trade and Investment)

  • Free Trade Area
  • Competitive Economic Environment
  • Integration into the Global Economy

2. Smart Growth (Education and Innovation)

  • Research & Development and Innovation
  • Education and Competences
  • Digital Society
  • Cultural and Creative Sectors

3. Sustainable Growth (Infrastructure and Environment)

  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Environment
  • Competitiveness

4. Inclusive Growth (Job Growth)

  • Employment
  • Health

5. Governance for Growth (Good Governance)

  • Effective public services
  • Anti-corruption
  • Justice

Dynamics and Implementation

As the first step of the SEE 2020 implementation, the governments in the region and the dimension coordinators are to develop national and regional action plans, respectively. In addition to this, a comprehensive set of indicators is also to be defined aimed at creation of the SEE 2020 monitoring system to measure progress towards the attainment of strategic targets. RCC is to coordinate the efforts on the development of national and regional action plans, as well as on the identification of indicators required for setting up of the monitoring system.

The RCC Secretariat is currently working on a preparation of a Baseline Report for the SEE 2020 Strategy that is to be presented and discussed at the SEE 2020 Governing Board meeting in June 2014.

Coordination mechanism matrix


* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.