EU Science Hub

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

Abstract: 

Enhancing the innovation potential has been on the policy agenda of the Western Balkan economies for years. Hence, innovation policy-making has led to a number of policy documents and strategies that relate to economic and innovative competitiveness. The concept of smart specialisation is a newer approach of innovation policy that seeks to develop countries' or regions' competitiveness based on their innovative potential in a cross-sectoral perspective and through evidence-based analysis. As Western Balkan economies are currently developing Smart Specialisation Strategies or preparing to do so, pre-existing policy documents provide a relevant context for ensuring the cross-sectoral character of Smart Specialisation Strategies. 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.