Western Balkan economies have committed to develop Smart Specialisation Strategies to facilitate knowledge-based transformation of their economies. This effort has been supported by the European Commission, in particular the Joint Research Centre, the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations and the Directorate General for Research and Innovation. This report aims to support the implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategies in the Western Balkans by looking at future cooperation opportunities along the value chains connected with most common priority domains in the region. With this purpose in mind, the report reviews the position of the Western Balkan economies in six selected global value chains and discusses policy options for improving the intra-regional and international cooperation.
Identification of promising areas is among the main goals of economic and innovation policy development and a focal point of the Smart Specialisation approach. The economies of the Western Balkan region are applying Smart Specialisation to determine the economic domains in which they should direct further efforts towards exploiting their potential. The recent studies show many similarities in regard to key economic domains across the Western Balkans. In order to investigate the strengths of some of the key domains in the region and to better understand both national and regional competitiveness in that regard, analysis of competitive value chains was carried out in the following six areas: textile, automotive, agrifood, energy, tourism and ICT industries. The work employed a specific methodology and looked into various dimensions for determining the potential of the Western Balkan economies in relation to the selected value chains. This report aims at providing information on possibilities for regional collaboration for improving the value chains and yielding better results in the market, as well as on the strengths and challenges in terms of enhancing the positions of the economies in relation to the value chains analysed.