Western Balkans

Economic and Social Affairs Platform

Phase 2 of this regional project funded by EU will continue working on peaceful settlement of labour disputes, improving labour inspections, and strenghtening economic and social councils as platforms for policy dialogue (see also www.esap.online). In addition, the project will start working on combating undeclared work.

Informal employment and lack of social dialogue take centre stage among the key issues on which the European Commission has asked the Western Balkans to show improvements in order to meet the EU accession criteria in the area of social policies and employment (Chapter 19).

Phase 2 of the Economic and Social Affairs Platform (ESAP) will consist of three thematic components

1.    Informal Employment and Undeclared Work
2.    Labour Inspection
3.    Social Dialogue

The Informal Employment and Undeclared Work Component will generate quantitative evidence on what works and what does not work with regard to transition to formality in the region and improve availability and quality of data on the different dimensions of informality. The results will create the basis for evidence policy-making supporting improved policy design and implementation to reduce informal employment and undeclared work.

In the Labour Inspection Component, informal employment and undeclared work will be the main policy areas for peer learning within the Network of Labour Inspectorates in the Western Balkans mirroring the EU’s Senior Labour Inspectors’ Committee (SLIC). A peer-review will increase the regional knowledge and understanding of the different labour inspection systems and practices. Based on the results of the peer review, tailored Inspection guidelines for detecting undeclared work will be designed and pilot tested. The results will lead to an increased outreach of the Labour Inspectorates in preventing and combatting undeclared work.

To foster increased effectiveness of tripartite and bipartite social dialogue, the Social Dialogue Component will include three strands of action: 1. Establishment of online performance-monitoring tools for Economic and Social Councils in their role as for a for policy dialogue, 2. Development of regional guidelines for the promotion of collective bargaining in selected economic sectors, and 3. Promotion of labour dispute resolution and industrial relations.

The ESAP 2. project will be jointly implemented with the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).