EC Progress reports WBC 2014 - progress made in Science, Research and Education

Each year the Commission adopts its "Enlargement package" - a set of documents explaining its policy on EU enlargement and reporting on progress achieved in each country. Most importantly, this package includes the annual Enlargement Strategy Paper Choose translations of the previous link which sets out the way forward for the coming year and takes stock of the progress made over the last twelve months by each candidate country and potential candidate. In addition to this strategy paper, the package contains the so-called Progress Reports in which the Commission services present their assessment of what each candidate and potential candidate has achieved over the last year.

Below excerpt on progress made in Science, Research and Education for each WB country is provided.

Albania

Chapter 25: Science and research 
There was a very limited increase in the number of entities participating in calls for proposals for  the  EU  framework  programme  for  research  (FP7),  with  an  overall  success  rate  of 14.4 %, compared to the EU average of 21.6 %. The agreement associating Albania to the new  EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 (covering 2014-20) was signed in July 2014, allowing for retro-active participation of entities from the country  as from 1 January 2014.  The  necessary  administrative  measures  for  participation,  i.e.  nomination  of  national 
contact  points  and  representatives  in  programme  committees,  have  been  put  in  place.  The Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (ARTI) generally lacked the means to be more  active  in  promoting  cooperation  on  research  and  innovation,  although  it  organised technical workshops in preparation of Horizon 2020. 
As regards the integration into the European Research Area, no actions were taken and the level of investment in research is still very low (less than 0.4 % of Albania’s GDP). Due to a lack of reliable statistics it is difficult to measure the exact level, in particular the expenditure on  research  by  the  private  sector.  Albania  nominated  a  representative  in  the  European Research Area Committee. With respect to the Innovation Union, the national strategy for research and innovation 2016-20 envisages some measures to boost innovation, but still needs to be adopted together with an action plan on implementation. Albania has been active in cooperating at regional level and co-signed  the  Western  Balkan  Regional  R&D  Strategy  for  Innovation  adopted  in  October 2013. 
Conclusion 
There has been limited progress in the area of science and research. Further capacity building and investment in research are required to ensure integration into the European Research Area and contribute to the Innovation Union. Increased efforts for successful participation in the 
new  research  framework  programme  Horizon  2020  will  also  be  necessary.  Overall, preparations are not sufficiently advanced. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

4.1.9.  Education and research 

As  regards  education,  Bosnia  and  Herzegovina  signed  an  agreement  with  the  EU  in  June 2014 establishing its partial participation in Erasmus+. The country actively participates in the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training. 
The Conference of Ministers of Education, to be held every other month, met only once in the reporting period. In the Federation there are still two coordination bodies acting in parallel, with the Federation Coordination of Ministers of Education coordinating ministries in only six Cantons.  The  inter-sectoral  commission  for  the  preparation  of  the  action  plan  for  the implementation  of  the  Baseline  Qualifications  Framework  submitted  the  document  to  the 
Council of Ministers. The mandate of the Commission expired in February. 
The ‘two schools under one roof’ phenomenon still exists in 34 schools in the Federation but otherwise there are mono-ethnic schools in the whole country. This year’s protests of returnee parents and children from Konjevic Polje (Bratunac) and Vrbanjci (Kotor Varos) highlighted alleged discriminatory practices in schools in the Republika Srpska, whereby children are not schooled in their mother tongue (Bosnian), despite guarantees in the federal Constitution. 
There are still three Cantons (Central-Bosnia, West-Herzegovina and Herzegovina-Neretva) that have not aligned their legislation on pre-school education with the framework law. The legislation for vocational education and training has yet to be adopted by four Cantons. In  all,  69 %  of  Roma  children  were  attending  primary  school  and  22.6 %  were  attending secondary school (versus 91.8 % of non-Roma). Bosnia and Herzegovina has not participated in the last round of PISA testing and is encouraged to do so in the future. Principles and standards on higher education were adopted by the Council of Ministers. Five accredited higher education institutions have been registered at federal level. In the Cantons, documents and procedures for accreditation have not been harmonised. 
The agencies for statistics in Bosnia and Herzegovina have started to report on statistics in education according to  the requirements  set  by  OECD/ILO and Eurostat, using the  ISCED 2011 classification.   
While there are plans to modernise and reform teacher education in each Entity, a common approach and the development of national standards would be to the benefit of all. Work on developing a National Qualifications Framework has not progressed.  The Youth in Action programme involved an increased number of young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina in international youth activities. 
In  the  field  of  culture,  the  agreement  between  the  EU  and  Bosnia  and  Herzegovina  on participating in the Creative Europe programme was signed in June 2014. In  the  absence  of  political  agreement  on  the  recognition  of  the  status  and  the  budgetary financing  of  the  seven  national  institutions  of  culture,  the  government  of  the  Federation adopted a decision on temporary financing of five institutions of culture. While the Federation government also secured additional funds for the financing of, some national institutions, the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina remained closed. 
In the area of research and innovation, Bosnia and Herzegovina has adopted the framework law on science and the strategy for science development  aimed at stimulating research and innovation.  There  was  no  increase  in  the  level  of  participation  to  the  EU  framework programme for research (FP7). The overall success rate is 12.3 % compared to the EU average of 21.6 %. The agreement associating Bosnia and Herzegovina to the new EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 (covering 2014-2020) was signed in July 2014, allowing for retro-active participation of Entities from the country as from 1 January 2014. The first necessary  administrative  measures  for  participation  have  been  put  in  place  (nomination  of  national contact points and representatives in the programme committees). 
As to the integration into the European Research Area, no new actions were implemented and  the  level  of  investment  in  research,  a  key  EU  target,  is  still  very  low  (less  than  0.20 %  of GDP). Bosnia and Herzegovina did nominate a representative in the European Research Area Committee. With respect to the Innovation Union, the Framework Law on Science and the Strategy for Science Development aims at stimulating cooperation between private and public sector but no concrete actions have yet been adopted. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been active 
in cooperating at regional level and co-signed the Western Balkan Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation adopted in October 2013. 
Overall, there was little progress on education and significant efforts are needed to improve the system. The complex structure makes coordination difficult and good governance almost impossible. Further strengthening of the newly established State-level institutions remains a challenge to be addressed. The policy-dialogue amongst the Ministries of Education and the Department  for  Education  in  the  Brčko  district  needs  to  be  improved  to  reduce  the 
fragmentation of the education system. The existence of mono-ethnic schools and a divided education system are still problems. Further efforts are needed to support VET policy. Other key issues include entrepreneurial learning, improving adult training, as well as the effective implementation  of  the  Qualifications  Framework.  All  Cantons  should  regulate  the accreditation procedure for higher education institutions. There was little progress regarding 
culture; however, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to participate in the MEDIA strand (as well  as  the  Culture  strand)  of  the  Creative  Europe  programme.  There  has  been  limited progress in the area of research and innovation, but signature of the association agreement on Horizon 2020 was an important step. 

Kosovo*

4.1.9.  Education and research 
The  Ministry  of  Education,  Science  and  Technology  (MEST)  set  out  education  policy priorities  for 2014-2015 and complemented the  legal  framework  for the implementation  of performance  assessment  of  teachers  to  support  the  process  of  teachers’  licensing. Implementation of the Kosovo curriculum framework and core curriculum continued in 2013 in ten pilot schools with the aim of adding another 84 pilot schools. Only 3 % of children attend preschool education services. Education and training programmes (for both pre-university and university level education) need to improve support for applied and  practical  work,  to  complement  theoretical  teaching  and  learning  practices.  The government has taken actions to prevent dropping out of school, including workshops with parents, students and the community at large, but further efforts are needed. Students from 
minority  communities  have  received  targeted  financial  support.  However,  children  from Roma,  Ashkali  and  Egyptian  communities  and  children  with  disabilities  continue  to  face limited access to quality education. 
Little  progress  has  been  made  in  developing  a  clear  strategic  plan  for  higher  education institutions in Kosovo. Contested academic credentials led to protests and the resignation of the University Rectorate. Improved transparency of the University recruitment procedures of  academic staff is required. In addition, the quality of higher education and its relevance to the labour market need to be greatly improved. Accuracy and availability of data in the education sector remains a serious challenge.  
The government adopted a Law on Vocational  Education and Training (VET). The current VET system does not properly meet the labour market needs in Kosovo. An action plan and framework  for  quality  assurance  for  monitoring  the  quality  of  vocational  education  and training schools has been developed. The National Qualifications Authority set up procedures for  validation  and  accreditation  of  vocational  training  programmes  and  made  progress comparing  and  approximating  the  National  Qualifications  Framework  with  the  European 
Qualifications Framework during the first half of 2014. The Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education for technical support became operational during the spring of 2014. As a result of the dialogue agreement on university diplomas,  graduates from  Kosovo  and Serbian  universities  can  have  their  higher  education  diplomas  certified  by  the  European University  Association.  Kosovo  participates  actively  in  the  Western  Balkans  Platform  on Education and Training. The  Youth  in  Action  programme  continued  involving  young  people  from  Kosovo  in international  youth activities such as  youth exchanges and the European Voluntary Service and  offered  youth  workers  the  opportunity  to  cooperate  within  training  and  networking activities. 
Kosovo has taken limited action to strengthen research and innovation capacity. The budget for research remains too limited to create competitiveness and implementation suffers from budgetary  constraints  and  administrative  capacity  needs  to  be  strengthened.  A  strategy  for innovation  was  designed,  but  has  yet  to  be  adopted.  Kosovo’s  participation  in  the  EU framework  programme  for  research  (FP7)  has  continued  to  stagnate.  Linkages  between research and businesses are very weak.  In November 2013, Kosovo organised a successful 
event in Pristina on the new EU research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 and has expressed interest in becoming associated. Research and innovation entities from Kosovo are eligible for participation and funding as a third country. The list of Horizon 2020 National  Contact Points has been notified, indicating increased administrative capacity. Kosovo also attended the regional Horizon 2020 launch event in March in Budva (Montenegro). Kosovo has been active in cooperating at regional level and co-signed the Western Balkans Regional 
R&D Strategy for Innovation adopted in October 2013. 
Overall, progress in the area of education has been slow. More efforts are needed to improve access to quality education for marginalised groups, including for children with disabilities and children from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities. The labour market  relevance and  the  quality  of  education  need  to  be  greatly  improved.  More  efforts  are  needed  to strengthen  Kosovo’s  research  and  innovation  capacity  through  boosting  investment  in  the sector and by taking action to facilitate the integration of Kosovo into the European Research Area and its contribution to the Innovation Union. 

FYR of Macedonia

Chapter 25: Science and research 
The country’s participation in the EU framework programme for research (FP7) continued to increase. The overall success rate is 15.9 %, compared to the EU average of 21.6 %. The number of small and medium-sized enterprises involved in FP7 research projects increased but the number of successful applicants for Marie Sklodowska Curie grants is still very low. 
The agreement  associating the  country to  the new EU research and innovation  programme Horizon  2020  (covering  2014-20)  was  signed  in  July  2014,  allowing  for  retro-active participation  of  entities  from  the  country  as  from  1  January  2014.  Implementation  of  the agreement  is  on  track,  but  increased  efforts  are  necessary  to  meet  the  challenges  of cooperation under Horizon 2020. 
Very limited progress  was  made towards the headline  European Research Area  target  of 3 % of GDP being invested in research (with the country currently investing less than 0.30 % of GDP). The 2014-20 national programme for higher education and scientific and research activities  was  adopted.  An  observer  was  nominated  to  the European  Research  Area Committee. 
The country has developed the capacity to monitor implementation of the national strategy for innovation,  drawn  up  in  accordance  with  the  Innovation  Union  initiative.  A  fund  for innovation  and  technological  development  was  created  with  the  objective  of  providing technical  assistance for  start-up companies,  grants  for  co-funding spin-offs  and stimulating the  transfer  of  technology.  The  Ministry  for  Education  and  Science  has  provided  grants supporting publication of scientific articles in international publications. The administrative capacity to monitor implementation of the National Strategy for Innovation has been put in place. The country has been active in cooperating at regional level and co-signed the Western Balkans Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation adopted in October 2013. 
Conclusion 
Good  progress  was  made  in  the  area  of  science  and  research.  The  administrative  structure necessary for participation in Horizon 2020 is in place, but capacity should be strengthened. Further efforts are needed on actions relating to the European Research Area, and in particular the level of investment in research needs to be increased. Overall, preparations in the area of science and research are on track. 

Montenegro

4.25.  Chapter 25: Science and research 
The  overall  level  of  participation  in  the  EU  framework  programme  for  research  (FP7) remained  stable  —  with  an  overall  success  rate  of  23.9 %  compared  to  the  EU  average  of 21.6 %  —  but  participation  of  SMEs,  and  successful  Marie  Sklodowska-Curie  grants, remained  very  weak.  Montenegrin  research  teams  continued  participating  in  EUREKA actions as well as cooperating in the frame of COST. The agreement associating Montenegro with  the  new  EU  research  and  innovation  programme  Horizon  2020  (covering  2014-2020) 
was signed in July 2014, allowing for retro-active participation of entities from the country as from  1  January  2014.  Montenegro  successfully  hosted  a  regional  Horizon  2020  event  in  Budva  in  March.  It  has  also  taken  the  necessary  administrative  measures  to  ensure participation in Horizon 2020 and notably nominated its network of national contact points and  representatives  in  the  programme  committees.  In  June,  the  government  adopted  the Framework Programme for Cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Regarding  further  integration  into  the  European  Research  Area  (ERA),  Montenegro  is participating as an observer in the European Research Area Committee and in all other bodies overviewing  EU  policy  actions  on  research  and  innovation.  Montenegro  also  agreed  to contribute on a voluntary basis to the second ERA Progress Report. The level of investment in research slightly increased to 0.50 % of GDP in 2013, but is still much lower than the EU 
average  of  2.07 %.  Based  on  the  amended  strategy  for  scientific  research  activities  (2012-2016),  Montenegro  aims  to  invest  1.4 %  of  its  GDP  in  research  by  2016.  A  centre  of excellence in bioinformatics (BIO-ICT) began operations in July at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in the University of Montenegro in Podgorica. This, together with the planned establishment of the first science and technology park in Nikšić, should facilitate reaching the 1.4 % target, as will the further increase in the national funding budget which almost doubled in 2013 compared to 2012. With respect to the Innovation Union, Montenegro took some steps to encourage innovation in  research  and  the  Ministry  of  Science  issued  calls  for  proposals  to  co-finance  scientific research activities such as co-financing for authors of patents and innovative solutions, and calls  emphasising  applied  and  developmental  research  and  the  development  of  innovation. Montenegro  has  been  active  in  cooperating  at  regional  level  and  co-signed  the  Western Balkans Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation adopted in October 2013. 
Conclusion 
Good progress was made in the area of science and research. Steps were taken to strengthen the  research  and  innovation  capacity  at  national  level  and  facilitate  integration  into  the European  Research  Area.  Serious  efforts  and  good  monitoring  will  be  necessary  to  reach Montenegro’s own investment target by 2016, and to meet the challenges of participation in the new EU programme Horizon 2020. Overall, preparations in this area are well on track. 

Serbia

Chapter 25: Science and research 
The  level  of  participation  in  the  EU  framework  programme  for  research  (FP7)  is satisfactory  and  the  overall  success  rate  is  around  15.3 %,  compared  to  the  EU  average  of 21.6 %. The agreement associating Serbia to the new EU research and innovation programme Horizon  2020  (covering  2014-2020)  was  signed  on  1  July  2014,  allowing  for  retro-active participation of entities from the country as from 1 January 2014. In June, Serbia notified a revised list of national contacts points and representatives in the programme committees.  With  respect  to  the  European  Research  Area,  Serbia  nominated  its  representative  in  the European Research Area Committee (ERAC). The action plan, implementing the Strategy on scientific and technological  development  for the period 2010-2015 was  adopted in  January 2014. The level of investment in research in 2013 remained broadly unchanged as in 2012, 
close to the national target of 1 % of GDP. This is still substantially below the EU average of 2.07 %. Concerning  measures  for  the  Innovation  Union,  the  Business  Technology  Incubator  of Technical  Faculties in Belgrade successfully continued to support start-up firms. While the Innovation Fund disbursed 53 grants to stimulate innovative companies in different sectors, further institutional support is needed to ensure the sustainability of this body. Serbia has been active  in  cooperating  at  regional  level  and  co-signed  the  Western  Balkans  Regional  R&D 
Strategy for Innovation adopted in October 2013. 
Conclusion 
Some progress was made in the area of science and research. Further efforts are required in particular to increase the capacity at national level trough increased investment in research both from public and private sector. Good administrative capacity will also be necessary to ensure  successful  participation  under  Horizon  2020.  Overall,  preparations  in  the  area  of science and research are on track. 

Document type
  • Report
Language

English

Publication Year

2014

Geographical focus
  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Montenegro
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • WBC
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Ines Marinkovic on September 1, 2015
Modified on November 11, 2015