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Jelena Puzović, Ph.D., Head of the JVP Srbijavode Public Relations and International Cooperation Sector

Serbia Must Ensure the Conservation of the Precious Resource That is Water

Public Water Management Company Srbijavode engages in numerous activities aimed at overcoming the challenges brought by climate change – implementing projects to develop and...

Uroš Đorđević, Account Executive, Dell Technologies

Pioneer in the New Era of Digital Tech

Dell Technologies is a corporation that’s oriented towards technological innovation and keeps pace with technological trends in every sense, which includes AI Speaking in this...

Ana Toskić Cvetinović, Executive Director, Partners for Democratic Change Serbia

The Rule of Law is Vital Ana

Partners Serbia is an organisation that’s dedicated to advancing the rule of law and developing civil society and institutions in Serbia and around the...

Ioanna Batsialou Ph.D., Director and Owner of the Ioanna Regen Polyclinic

Passion is Key to this Job

Ioanna Batsialou Ph.D. is the director and owner of the Ioanna Regen Polyclinic, which specialises in physical medicine, rehabilitation, mesotherapy, aesthetics and anti-aging treatments Our...

Maja Marić, Country Manager Operations, CPI Property Group

Retail Parks Remain Fashionable

A key part of the company culture at CPI Property Group Serbia, which forms part of a family firm that was founded in the...

Mihail Arandarenko Ph.D., Professor, University of Belgrade Faculty of Economics

Useful, but Modest

The Open Balkan countries don’t have the capacity to solve the labour shortage problem, but they can alleviate it to an extent. The benefits of migration will be distributed relatively evenly between the three countries

The removing of barriers preventing the free movement of labour within the frameworks of three Western Balkan countries is certainly an important positive event, both in an economic and a political sense.

When it comes to the practical reach of the Open Balkan initiative on the labour market, I would highlight some limiting circumstances and some favourable ones. Limiting circumstances certainly include the fact that all three countries face a lack of available labour, with Serbia hit the hardest due to the large natural decrease in the working-age population, while Albania and North Macedonia are hit more when it comes to high levels of emigration. As such, the implementation of the free labour market will create a bottleneck on the labour supply side. The second negative circumstance is the fact that the difference in average nominal earnings, and particularly real earnings in the frameworks of all three countries, is much lower than the 2:1 ratio, and this is considered as being an essential precondition for intensive labour migration. On the other hand, there are also extremely favourable circumstances for labour migration. First and foremost is gravitation – the three countries are very close to each other and daily migrations are possible between the countries that share a border. Apart from close proximity, linguistic and cultural closeness exists to a large extent, which makes it easier for workers to decide to emigrate temporarily. Similarly, surveys show that employers from all three countries prefer workers from the region to workers from more distant countries. Observing this initiative from both sides, we can conclude that the Open Balkan doesn’t have the capacity to solve the labour shortage problem, but it can alleviate it to an extent.

The benefits of migration will be distributed relatively evenly between the countries. Given that differences in earnings aren’t excessive, the main effect of opening and effectively consolidating the labour market will be in the better matching of supply and demand in certain ‘convertible’ market segments – from the construction sector to IT. Similarly, while Serbia and North Macedonia are oriented more towards the growth of industrial employment, Albania is creating new employment opportunities in the service sector, primarily in tourism.

Serbia and North Macedonia are oriented towards the growth of industrial employment, while Albania is creating new employment opportunities in the service sector, This could create space for a useful exchange of workers

We could thus see a useful exchange between these countries of workers with different qualifications. As the country with the highest earnings, the position of workers in Serbia shouldn’t worsen due to the expected arrival of a modest number of foreign workers from North Macedonia and Albania. They will all be employed as individuals, in accordance with Serbia’s current labour legislation, and will enjoy the same level of protection as domestic workers. Essentially, foreign workers are often more expensive for employers than domestic workers – considering the costs of travel, accommodation and training, but also the increased turnover of foreign employees. Generally speaking, in countries confronted by great labour shortages, the influx of workers from abroad – with the aim of implementing projects that would otherwise be difficult to implement precisely due to the labour supply bottleneck – can have a positive impact on the future employment of domestic workers due to the positive impact of those projects on GDP growth.

It should be noted that annual gross outflows of the Serbian population on the basis of labour migration total approximately fifty thousand, while inflows have stood at approximately the same level over the last few years. The overall impact on the Serbian labour market of the additional influx of workers from the region thanks to the Open Balkan initiative – which we estimate to stabilise at several thousand employees per year over the next few years – will therefore be positive, but relatively small.

Slađana Prica, retired ambassador, member of the Forum for International Relations and honorary president of the UNA of Serbia

Diplomatic Response Overdue

The issue of the so-called ‘self-proclaimed’ Kosovo joining Europe’s oldest political organisation has long been an open question. Attempts have been made and lobbying...

Slobodan G. Markovich, Institute for European Studies and Faculty of Political Science

U.S. Elections More Critical for EU Future than EP Elections

While the EU’s right-wing parties are expected to make gains, these gains shouldn’t be expected to substantially alter the composition of the Parliament or...

Ivana Radić Milosavljević, Assistant Professor in European Studies at the University of Belgrade - Faculty of Political Sciences

Not all Right-Wing Parties are Likeminded

The outcome of the European Parliament election is unlikely to cause a dramatic shift in EU policy, particularly foreign policy, but it could hamper...

Rajko Petrović, Research Associate at the Institute of European Studies

The EU Idea is Stronger than the Outcome of Less Important Elections

The electorate’s shift to the right won’t change the nature and essence of the idea of the European Union, and thus neither will it...

Montenegro’s Independence Day Celebrated

Celebrating Montenegro's Independence Day with an Exhibition on Montenegrin Cyrillic Printing from the 15th and 16th Centuries. In commemoration of...

Zoran Andjelković Ascends to Directorship of Serbian Post

Zoran Andjelković has been appointed as the new acting director of Pošta Srbije (Serbian Post), as announced in the...

Business Event Hosts Serbian Employment Service Presentation

In Belgrade on the 15th of May, the Slovenian Business Club, in collaboration with the National Employment Service of...

Golubac Marks Milestone with Inauguration of Eastern Serbia’s First Wind Farm

In a significant development for Serbia's renewable energy sector, Golubac celebrated the grand opening of the "Krivača" wind farm,...

Conference “Thinking Green & Living Clean” Held

On Wednesday, 15 May, the "Thinking Green & Living Clean" conference took place at the Sava Center, marking the...

Montenegro’s Independence Day Celebrated

Celebrating Montenegro's Independence Day with an Exhibition on Montenegrin Cyrillic Printing from the 15th and 16th Centuries. In commemoration of...

Business Event Hosts Serbian Employment Service Presentation

In Belgrade on the 15th of May, the Slovenian Business Club, in collaboration with the National Employment Service of...

Launch of the Council of European Business Associations and Chambers in Serbia

European business associations and bilateral chambers have established the Council of European Business Associations and Chambers in Serbia (CEBAC),...

EU Commissioner Várhelyi Visits Serbia to Discuss Deepening Integration and Regional Stability Efforts

In a pivotal meeting in Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Olivér...

Ukraine’s First Lady Visits Serbia in Historic Diplomatic Move

Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, arrived in Belgrade on Sunday, marking a historic visit as the first top Ukrainian...

Montenegro’s Independence Day Celebrated

Celebrating Montenegro's Independence Day with an Exhibition on Montenegrin Cyrillic Printing from the 15th and 16th Centuries. In commemoration of...

Business Event Hosts Serbian Employment Service Presentation

In Belgrade on the 15th of May, the Slovenian Business Club, in collaboration with the National Employment Service of...

Launch of the Council of European Business Associations and Chambers in Serbia

European business associations and bilateral chambers have established the Council of European Business Associations and Chambers in Serbia (CEBAC),...

EU Commissioner Várhelyi Visits Serbia to Discuss Deepening Integration and Regional Stability Efforts

In a pivotal meeting in Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Olivér...

Ukraine’s First Lady Visits Serbia in Historic Diplomatic Move

Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, arrived in Belgrade on Sunday, marking a historic visit as the first top Ukrainian...
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