> News

"Knowledge for Reform Action in the Western Balkans" programme supported by Norway and implemented by UNOPS Austria Multi-Country Office, aims to support governmental institutions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia in their reform processes to achieve EU accession. The programme’s Chief Technical Advisor - Jochen Penker is providing us with an outline of UNOPS' tangible technical assistance for the six countries in the Western Balkans region.

  • Programme’s action oriented approach and specific support provided to the 6 beneficiary governments: The programme follows a collaborative approach, building on strong engagement with all beneficiaries, the EU, our donor who is the Government of Norway and the UN country teams. We assist Western Balkan partners in advancing on the EU Green agenda and in making progress on reform priorities, for instance in the energy, transport and the agriculture sector. We can rely on a pool of highly qualified consultants who provide guidance and assistance on the ground, face-to-face, bilaterally or via capacity building workshops.  Moreover, our EU experts provide horizontal advice and technical or legal support on chapters under Cluster 3, competitiveness and inclusive growth. 
  • What differentiates the support provided by UNOPS from the other similar oriented initiatives: The joint Norway/UNOPS programme complements the important work being done by the EU itself via TAIEX and Twinning, by EU member states, their implementing agencies as well as other UN Agencies. This programme capitalizes on UNOPS core competencies and comparative advantages. The partnership between Norway, UNOPS and authoritative agencies brings together a wealth of expertise, resources, and shared goals, creating a solid foundation for impactful initiatives, for instance in the climate, energy, transport and agriculture space. The programme offers independent technical advice in an evidence-based manner. Our experienced experts can guide government institutions through the complex accession negotiation process and help resolving legal, administrative or institutional issues related to EU integration. Finally it is up to the respective government institutions and national legislators to set the pace.
  • What are the benefits of EU accession for the citizens and businesses in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia: Closer integration with the European Union can of course bring economic benefits for local businesses and regional integration will create new opportunities for export-oriented companies from both the Western Balkans and the EU. On the direct benefits for the citizens of the Western Balkans, let us have a look at Cluster 2 the European Union freedoms: It has certainly become much easier to move around Europe – all EU citizens have the right to study, work or retire in any EU country. As an EU national, for employment, social security and tax purposes, every EU country is required to treat you exactly the same as its own citizens. All these are possible in the EU single market.

By leveraging our combined strengths, we aim at transformative action in various areas of focus. Through targeted interventions, we aspire to contribute to the region's social, economic, and environmental development. We are confident that our partnership under the joint Norway/UNOPS programme will create strong synergies and enable us to achieve a difference - to the benefit of the Western Balkan region and all European citizens.

News details
  • Summary
Aug 14, 2023