Weak Labour Markets, Weak Policy Responses: Active Labour Market Policies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia

Unemployment is one of the most burning issues in Albania, BiH and Macedonia. Despite this fact, active labour market policies in all three countries are still under-developed.

Themes: Human RightsGovernance and Service DeliverySocial Welfare


The Western Balkan countries are facing a difficult economic situation and inadequate economic governance, what, among other things, results in poor labour market performance and outcomes. The region is characterised by persistently high levels of unemployment, low job creation rates, the presence of structural unemployment and a generally underdeveloped institutional framework of the labour market. Three countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia – which are the focus of this study, share the same labour market problems and are characterised by similar socio-economic trends as other countries in the WB region.

Despite poor labour market outcomes and socio-economic issues that arise as a result, research has shown that active labour market policies (ALMPs) in the observed countries are developed only in a rudimentary form and suffer from many shortcomings. The level of public spending on these policies is generally low, the coverage of labour force by ALMP measures is quite limited, while targeting and design of ALMP programmes need further improvements in all three countries. In addition, a lack of evaluation of implemented ALMP measures hinders evidencebased policy making and the implementation of necessary improvements in this field.

This study was published as part of the research for the Think and Link Regional Policy Programme’s project titled “Challenging unemployment in the Western Balkans: Enhancing active labour market policies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia”, implemented by Analitika – Center for Social Research, in cooperation with Finance Think from Macedonia and Agenda Institute from Albania, with the support of the European Fund for the Balkans. The views expressed in this study are those of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Fund for the Balkans.