On the occasion of the Western Balkans Summit, which is held in Sofia on May 17th, 2018, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and Analitika would like to draw your attention to a new regional report on inequality in Southeast Europe (SEE).
Focusing on available data from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia, the report shows that levels of income inequality tend to be among the highest in Europe. A major reason are the weak labor markets of the region, as being excluded from the labor market and working in precarious and informal jobs significantly contributes to inequality. Moreover, while social protection and tax systems are generally shown to offset inequality, progressive tax systems that would alleviate the tax burden on those who are worse off are largely absent in the region. Social protection systems do not sufficiently reduce inequality and poverty, primarily due to the low generosity and coverage of benefits. A lack of access to quality education in the region increases inequality of opportunity and outcome.
Despite inequality’s serious repercussions, governments in the SEE region have not devoted sufficient attention to this issue. Labor market policies of deregulation and flexibility have in fact increased precarious work and done little to lower unemployment. Social safety nets have been eroded through fiscal consolidation efforts. Looking at socioeconomic reforms formulated in light of countries’ EU accession prospects, the report argues that envisaged measures do not sufficiently address economic inequality.
To ensure that the root causes of inequality are addressed, the report argues in favor of multidimensional responses in the realms of education, employment, taxation and social policy, providing general recommendations on ways in which inequality in the region could be reduced.
A summary of the key messages and recommendations can be accessed here: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/sarajevo/14451.pdf
The full report is available at http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/sarajevo/14452.pdf
Please address any interview requests to the lead author, Mrs Mirna Jusić at firstname.lastname@example.org
*The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Southeast Europe*
After more than two decades of engagement in southeastern Europe, the FES appreciates that the challenges and problems still facing this region can best be resolved through a shared regional framework. Our commitment to advancing our core interests in democratic consolidation, social and economic justice and peace through regional cooperation, has since 2015 been strengthened by establishing an infrastructure to coordinate the FES’ regional work out of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Regional Dialogue Southeast Europe (Dialogue SOE).
Dialogue SOE provides analysis of shared challenges in the region and develops suitable regional programs and activities in close cooperation with the twelve FES country offices across Southeast Europe. Furthermore, we integrate our regional work into joint initiatives with our colleagues in Berlin and Brussels. We aim to inform and be informed by the efforts of both local and international organizations in order to further our work in southeastern Europe as effectively as possible.
Our regional initiatives are advanced through three broad working lines:
• Social Democratic Politics and Values
• Social and Economic Justice
• Progressive Peace Policy
Our website provides information about individual projects within each of these working lines, past events, and future initiatives: www.fes-southeasteurope.org
Center for Social Research Analitika is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in July 2009, and based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mission of Analitika is to enhance the public policy process by conducting socially relevant, high quality research. In its research, the organization places great importance on the application of contemporary research methods, analytical capacities, competence and experience of its researchers, as well as rigorous external peer review procedures for its publications.
Analitika's areas of research include rule of law, public administration reform with a focus on local self-government, and media and communication.
For more information, please visit the Analitika website www.analitika.ba