South East Europe 2020: 2016 Annual Report on Implementation

The South East Europe 2020 Strategy (SEE 2020) was adopted by the ministers of economy of seven South East European economies on 21 November 2013. Inspired by the EU’s 2020 Strategy it seeks to boost prosperity and job creation and to underscore the importance of the EU perspective to the region’s future through coordinated cooperation across a number of important policy dimensions. The adoption of SEE 2020 was a clear recognition by the national governments of the need for a ‘change of gear’ in the region.

SEE 2020 seeks to provide a pathway to accelerating socio-economic reform and speeding up measures to modernise and reindustrialise the economies, create more jobs and deliver better living standards for the population. Like the EU’s 2020 Strategy it is based on a set of interlinked development policy pillars that seek to stimulate long-term drivers of growth.

The progress towards meeting the SEE 2020 headline targets set by the seven participating governments has been varied. The implementation of SEE 2020 started in the aftermath of the largest global economic crisis in recent history which had a particularly negative impact in the SEE. The region has seen its economies contract, with reduced employment and investment, and placed its financial sector at extreme risk. The narrowing fiscal space and limited scope for monetary policy interventions considerably reduced the policy options and instruments at the governments’ disposal. It is against this backdrop that the progress made in achieving the SEE 2020 targets has to be considered.

Smart Growth: The prevalence of new information and communication technologies in all activities means that all economies, regardless of the level of development, have to create capabilities to use these technologies. All Western Balkans economies have made progress regarding the ITU's ICT development index, but the fact that they still populate the lowest part of the ranking table for Europe confirms the wide digital divide and the urgent need for more resolute actions, reforms and investments in the ICT sphere. Particular gaps are observed regarding the penetration for fixed broadband. The statistical data gathered from the statistical offices of the SEE region likewise confirm low e-commerce usage.

Document type
  • Report


Publication Year


Regional Cooperation Council
Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Anna Sirocco on November 10, 2016
Modified on November 10, 2016