Promoting inclusive labour market solutions in the Western Balkans: Peer learning exchange across Western Balkan countries (Budapest, 25-26 June 2018)

Hosted by the ILO Country Office (CO) Budapest with funding from Austrian Development Agency, the final event of the ILO sub-regional project-Promoting inclusive labour market solutions in the Western Balkans- took place on the 25th and 26th June 2018 in Budapest, gathering officials and experts from Balkans countries as well as policy practitioner from Portugal, Austria, and Ireland to discuss inclusive labour market solutions in the region.

Modelled after the Mutual Learning Programme (MLP) of the European Union, the twelve months project focused on practices that would make the employment agencies better prepared to cater the most vulnerable on the labour market. During the period leading up to the Budapest event, the ILO technical team has supported practitioners from the public employment agencies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[1], the FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to peer-review their practices related to adult training, traineeship, self-employment programmes, and other services for disadvantaged clients. Representatives of the employment services from Portugal, Ireland, and Austria have also brought their knowledge and expertise to the table.

The final event comprised of 2 days with an expert meeting and a peer learning exchange on the first day; and a high-level meeting on the second day. Happened in the morning the 25th June, the expert meeting discussed with practitioners of national Public Employment Services (PES) the technical review and policy recommendations stemming from the peer learning exercises that were held in October 2017 and April 2018. The Peer learning exchange meeting in the afternoon, with the involvement of representatives from Austria and Ireland, offered the opportunity to PES practitioners of the Western Balkan countries to discuss the experiences of Ireland in the First Steps programme and of Austria’s “Training Guarantee till 25 years old. On the second day of the event, a High-level meeting provided a platform for a discussion with national representatives of the ministries of Labour from Balkans region, also with the valuable experiences shared by Austria and Ireland. This event is not only of utmost important in helping Balkans country achieve an inclusive labour market, but also reinforce the South-South and Triangular development cooperation among members in the region, and with countries from the North.

This Project and event is supported by the South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) Facility of the Partnership and Field Support Department (PARDEV) of the ILO.


[1] As defined by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.