EU Enlargement

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.

As of 2018, the remaining five Western Balkan economies have joined Serbia in developing smart specialisation strategies. The information on the status quo of smart specialisation processes in all Western Balkan economies can be found on the links to the economies in the left-side menu.

The latest event to bring together all heads of smart specialisation teams of the Western Balkans is the Conference “Supporting Smart Specialisation Strategies and Technology Transfer in South-East Europe under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU" which will be held in Bucharest on June 18, 2019. The conference in Bucharest represents a continuation of the "Sofia process", which was initiated during the conference "Smart Specialisation and Technology Transfer as Innovation Drivers for Regional Growth" held in Sofia in May 2018. The Sofia High-Level Conference set the tone for adopting Smart Specialisation, technology transfer and digital economy initiatives in South-East Europe, including the Western Balkans and energise the process triggered by the Bulgarian Presidency's emphasis on the Western Balkans. The presence of the Smart Specialisation national teams of the Western Balkan economies at the conference also provided the opportunity to make agreements on Smart Specialisation roadmaps for each economy under guidance of the JRC, which, on its side, committed to providing support to each Western Balkan economy in their Smart Specialisation efforts.

Latest news

News article |
Innovation, technology transfer and digital transformation in South-East Europe, including Western Balkans

On 3-4 May 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, JRC, under the auspices of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, organises a high level conference. Its objective is to increase regional cooperation in South East Europe and to support the Western Balkans’ potential as competitive market economies. These ambitions follow from the European Commission’s strategy for Western Balkans.

News article |
Latest registration

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MK) has registered to the S3 Platform.

News article |
Latest registration

The latest S3 Platform member is the regional entity Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Events

EVENT |
Conference "Supporting Smart Specialisation Strategies and Technology Transfer in South-East Europe"
In connection to the "Innovative Enterprise Week" in Bucharest to be held on 19-21 June 2019, on 18th June 2019, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre together with the Romanian Ministry of Research and Innovation in the frame of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will organise a "Conference on Smart Specialisation Strategies and Technology Transfer in South-East Europe" in Bucharest (Romania).
EVENT |
EDP Kick-off event held in Belgrade
Serbia has successfully launched the comprehensive stakeholder dialogue within its smart specialisation efforts at the EDP Kick-off event organised on March 29 by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

Publications

PUBLICATION |
Smart Specialisation and the Wider Innovation Policy Context in the Western Balkans

This paper gives an overview of the main elements of the Smart Specialisation concept and surveys the existing strategic frameworks for innovation in the Western Balkan economies. The analysis addresses the relevance of these frameworks and policy documents for smart specialisation, and highlights the links between pre-existing strategic frameworks in a smart specialisation perspective.

Nikola Radovanovic; Maximilian Benner
PUBLICATION |
Supporting an Innovation Agenda for the Western Balkans - Tools and Methodologies

This report gives an overview of the Western Balkans region, looking at challenges and emerging potentials for innovation. It also presents tools and methodologies available at the JRC to support an innovation agenda for economic transformation and inspired by Smart Specialisation. Each challenge is supported by a concrete implementation example.

MATUSIAK Monika; KLEIBRINK Alexander; ANDONOVA Elena; BODEN John Mark; CETL Vlado; DIUKANOVA Olga; DOSSO Mafini; DUSART Jean; GKOTSIS Petros; GNAMUS Ales; KLEIBRINK Alexander; KOTSEV Alexander; LAVALLE Carlo; MANDRAS Giovanni; MATUSIAK Monika; RADOVANOVIC Nikola; RAINOLDI Alessandro; SLAVCHEVA Milena; VESKOVIC Miroslav; HOLLANDERS Hugo; NDUBUISI Gideon; OWUSU Solomon; RADOSEVIC Slavo