Social cohesion in the Western Balkan economies is under constant risk. A weak social welfare state and the persistent and challenging economic situation create an unstable environment that could compromise and jeopardise the sustainable development of the Western Balkan societies.
A group of Western Balkan think-tank organisations and researchers working on the welfare state issues have initiated development of a Regional platform with the aim to engage the foremost researchers, political, business and other leaders of society to shape a regional social welfare state agenda, thus contributing to improving the social dimension of the European Integration in the Western Balkans. The initiative intends to create added value through influencing existing processes which promote a sustainable reform agenda in the Western Balkan (such as economic governance and Economic Reform Programme, EU negotiation process, Employment and Social Reform Programmes, etc.). One of the key outputs and tools of influence is initiating and holding of an annual event to discuss the Future of the Welfare State in the Western Balkans (informally named the Social Davos of the Western Balkans).
As a move forward, the Position Paper on the Future of the Welfare State in the Western Balkans has been prepared. The study provides an overview against the key welfare state indicators and reviews challenges that the social welfare state faces globally. Specifically, the study focuses on the challenges which are additionaly linked to Western Balkans economies and also defines some of the key strategies and options in dealing with these challenges that need to be tackled, discussed and agreed.
This position paper is supported by PERFORM, a project of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and University of Fribourg.