Employment in the Western Balkans: Challenges of a Young Market Economy
Retrospective of the Conference: Films, Speeches, Video Clips, Photo Gallery and Media Release.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stabilization of democracy and strengthening of the local economy
The declared goal of all governments and peoples in the Western Balkans is to complete the transition process with full integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Although all the countries can
point to some degree of success with reforms, system changeover has not yet been fully completed. Political institutions are still weak and failure-prone, the economies still have a lot of ground to
cover to catch up, and unemployment is an urgent problem. To date, the economic upswing that began in the late Nineties has not brought the population at large any substantial increase in prosperity.
Pensioners and over a million refugees and internally displaced persons still live under particularly difficult conditions.
Stabilization of the democratic system, strengthening of the local economy, reform of the social institutions as well sustainable management of natural resources are among the most important challenges facing Southeast Europe and are what SDC's transitional support has been focused on.
The Stability Pact and regional initiatives
In addition to its bilateral support, SDC promotes the regional integration of the countries of Southeast Europe as an essential step on their way to European integration. It is therefore strongly
committed to the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (SP-SEE), a political initiative launched in 1999 which has allowed better
coordination of donor-supported activities at the regional level, while serving as a platform for the common strategies of the countries involved with respect to democracy/human rights, economic
development and security.
The SP-SEE's policy coordination mission will come to an end in the near future with the recent or imminent EU membership of several Southeast European countries. However, regional integration of the Balkans remains an important challenge. Switzerland is therefore pursuing its efforts along these lines, flanking the consolidation of Southeast Europe's position with initiatives and thematic networks that have grown out of the SP-SEE. It is concentrating its support on networks with considerable potential in the areas of local democracy, education, health, social dialogue, cross-border cooperation on the management of natural resources, migration and the combat of organized crime.
Here, you will find more publications, links, documents and articles about Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian aid in this region.