Feb 26, 2024

Active Pursuit of Labor Market Reforms in the Western Balkans and Türkiye

Prioritizing labor market reforms remains a critical focus on the reform agenda in the Western Balkans and Türkiye. The recent “Managing Labor Market Structural Reforms” workshop presented a valuable opportunity for officials to exchange ideas on labor and education reforms, aligning with the ongoing Reform Agenda and their positions within the Economic Reform Programme (ERP) process. Additionally, this workshop also served as a unique platform for reviewing examples of labor market structural reforms outlined in ERPs, encouraging reflection on potential implementation strategies, and enhancing capacities to tackle labor market challenges.

By joining this workshop, participants had the opportunity to enhance their expertise in preparing structural reforms for ERPs, with a specific emphasis on understanding the dynamics of the labor market. The workshop provided strategic insights into designing and sequencing labor market reforms to ensure their contribution to competitiveness, inclusive growth, and fiscal health. It also emphasized a holistic approach, exploring the interconnections of labor market reforms with other crucial areas such as education, revealing their comprehensive impact on economic vitality.
During the workshop, concrete examples of real-world applications were emphasized by showcasing labor market structural reforms outlined in various ERPs. This provided a useful basis for reflection and exploring implementation options. Through practical exercises, participants had a chance to draft clear, concise, and focused descriptions of structural labor market reform measures along with defining key performance indicators for their effective monitoring.

Several guest speakers, whom we were delighted to welcome, added value and enhanced the quality of the workshop program. A representative from the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission presented the integration of structural reforms into ERPs as vital for fostering sustainable growth, addressing employment challenges, and promoting social inclusion. During the event we also showcased the Slovene experience in establishing the unit for analysis and development within the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, emphasizing the role of quantitative analysis in decision-making and policy design for labor market reforms. This was also complemented by an overview of the labor market policies in Slovenia. Furthermore, Croatian colleagues from the Ministry of Labour and Pension System shared insights on prioritization and setting milestones for labor reform within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).

The “Managing Labor Market Structural Reforms” workshop was delivered on February 20-22, 2024 in Ljubljana. It was delivered as part of the multi-beneficiary capacity development project “Structural Reforms Better Integrated Within Fiscal Frameworks” (FISR2) funded by the European Union.