Updated review of the performance of Western Balkan economies regarding the European Pillar of Social Rights and Action Plan (2021)


Rahel Kahlert


Eszter Z├│lyomi, Anette Scoppetta, Sonila Danaj, Veronica Sandu


Country experts in six Western Balkan economies


Although the Western Balkan economies included in this project are not yet EU Member States it is important to monitor their achievements and reform efforts of social rights as candidate and potential candidate countries. This is particularly important given the challenges those economies face, including an aging population, challenges in the labour market, poverty, etc.

Within the framework of the project 'Employment and Social Affairs Platform 2' (in short, ESAP 2) which is implemented by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and funded by the EU, the European Centre was engaged as the international expert organization in the reviews prepared in 2018/19 and coordinated the 2020 reviews.


The 2021 reports aimed to update the existing reviews on issues relevant to the European Pillar of Social Rights in the six Western Balkan economies: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, & Serbia. In addition to programmatic and data updates, the reports took stock of all relevant policy developments in relation to the European Pillar of Social Rights and also to development impact of COVID-19 including related policies. From a policy perspective, it is important to monitor the level of progress of the candidate and potential candidate countries, in terms of identifying important progress, persistent gaps and challenges that need to be addressed in order to inform policy makers on potential areas of intervention, reform and upgrade and/or further improvements.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.


The updated reports are based on European-level, international and country data sets. This included data from Eurostat where available (e.g. on core labour market and social indicators) or relevant national data when Eurostat data are not available. Other relevant sources include data sets from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), OECD, WHO, the World Bank and regional platforms.

The European Centre team provided quality assurance to ensure that the country reviews are of high quality, consistent, clear, accurate and sourced, appropriate and timely. The European Centre team also produced a cross-country overview report and analysed each Pillar principle across the six economies and in comparison, with the EU-27, by combining the updated Social Scoreboard data, supplemented with data from national databases, complemented with synthesized qualitative information collected by the country experts.


  • Updated reports on issues relevant to the European Pillar of Social Rights in Western Balkan:
  1. Albania
  2. Bosnia & Herzegovina
  3. Kosovo
  4. Montenegro
  5. Republic of North Macedonia
  6. Serbia
  • Cross-country overview report based on the six individual reports
  • Updated Social Scoreboard of the six economies compared to the EU27 average
  • Presentation of findings during the “Employment and Social Affairs” ESAP2 Multi-Thematic Hybrid Event on October 12, 2021 in Albania, Tirana

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European Union and implemented by the Regional Cooperation Council


06/2021 – 08/2021