The EU's enlargement policy deals with the countries currently aspiring to become members of the European Union. There are strict conditions for membership to ensure that new members are admitted only when they are fully able to take on the obligations of EU membership. This includes compliance with all the EU's standards and rules. For the purpose of accession negotiations, these are divided into 35 different policy fields (chapters).
A number of cross-cutting policy issues are of concern to most countries aspiring to join the EU, including:
For smart specialisation, Chapters 24 (science & research) and 22 (regional policy & coordination of structural instruments) are the most relevant negotiation items.
Smart specialisation strategies are an expression of sound innovation policies and as such are of interest not only to EU member states, but also to non-EU countries willing to improve their innovation ecosystems. To support participatory and evidence-based processes in the EU Neighbourhood countries, the S3 Platform developed a pilot project that supports the early preparatory phases of the development of research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation in one EU enlargement country - Serbia.
Serbia as the pilot enlargement country is at the early stages of developing of their innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) and need targeted support in mapping their economic and research fabric, internally organising a coherent approach, and mobilising and coordinating relevant stakeholders through an entrepreneurial discovery process. The support provided should enable local stakeholders to gain the competences needed for continuing strategy design and implementation in the future. Exchange of good practices among the pilot targeted countries of the S3 Platform activities can provide additional insights for the development of RIS3 outside the EU.
The pilot project is currently entering the operational phase. The S3 Platform together with an expert team and local partners is preparing a mapping of economic, scientific and innovation potentials with the target countries.
At a three-day meeting in Chisinau (MD) on 5-7 April 2017, policy-makers and analysts from partner countries confirmed their strong commitment for this eviden-based and particpatory process. The mapping results will serve as a basis for planning and implementing a series of stakeholder dialogues to jointly devolop detailed priority domains and cross-sectoral niches.