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Projects & themes

One of the central aims of LSEE is to produce high-quality, multi-disciplinary in-house research that will track developments in the region. LSEE also aims to encourage research completed in collaborative efforts and co-authorships with partners at the LSE, in the region and further afield.


LSEE staff engage in research projects centred around three thematic streams: Social policy, regional policy and labour markets; European integration, macroeconomic policy and institutional reform; and International relations, minorities, security and state-building.

Social Cohesion 

Research in this stream includes the work of SMEs, regional policy and development, skills shortages and labour market performance, administrative and fiscal decentralisation, health and social services provision, and poverty and social protection. The LSEE Research Network on Social Cohesion in SEE supports and strengthens such areas of research through collaboration with colleagues from the region and the initial support of the Regional Cooperation Council, the IFI Coordination Office for the Western Balkans and Turkey, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Research Projects & Programmes Associated with Stream 1

Joint IFRI-LSEE Research Programme


The Research Programme on South Eastern Europe was a collaborative effort by two leading institutions, LSEE - LSE Research on South Eastern Europe and L'lnstitut franyais des relations internationales (Ifri). The Programme would not have been possible without generous support by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation to which we would like to record our lasting gratitude.

Labour Markets in SEE Research Programme

This programme was supported by the LSEE funding framework through the National Bank of Greece Research Fund. The programme was established in October 2012 and in its initial phase was expected to last for 12 months. Four research projects are running within the programme, concerning topical and pressing issues for the region’s labour market(s).

These are: (i) Employment polarisation under transition: changing occupational distributions and their geography; (ii) Non-standard forms of employment: determinants and impact on individual employment progression; (iii) Employment and skills: mismatch, activation and inclusion; and (iv) Impact of public sector employment on local labour markets.

SEARCH: FP7 Project

The project Sharing Knowledge Assets: Interegionally Cohesive Neighbourhoods, SEARCH, was part of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme.

SEARCH focuses on the study of relations between EU countries and their neighbours, with particular attention paid to aspects such as movement of people, goods and knowledge to strengthen the ties between the European Union and surrounding nations, in Eastern Europe, the Near East and the southern Mediterranean region.

Vocational Education and Social Inclusion

A research project on “Mapping of VET Educational Policies and Practices for Social Inclusion and Social Cohesion in the Western Balkans, Israel and Turkey” was awarded to LSE Enterprise in collaboration with LSEE in June 2012.

The aim of the project was to deepen our understanding of the main barriers and potential opportunities for building inclusive and equitable VET systems in the Western Balkans, Turkey and Israel. It provided new evidence on the role of VET in combating social inclusion and contributing to building more cohesive societies.

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Welfare Systems and Minorities in SEE Research Project

This project was supported by the LSEE funding framework for the first stage of a new research initiative designed to explore the relationship between systems of welfare and minorities in South East Europe, with a particular focus on the Roma population. It began in September 2012 and was funded for 12 months.


In the fields of economic policy and performance the topics covered have been FDI spill-overs (in Bulgaria and Serbia), trade integration and the new CEFTA2006 , the emergence of industrial centres in Central Turkey, and the impact of the global economic crisis on the region as a whole. Other areas of research include analyses of the process of European association, evaluation of the investment of pre-accession assistance, analysis of trade flows and trade integration (CEFTA) and others.

Research Projects & Programmes Associated with Stream 2

Crisis, Austerity and Growth Research Programme

The objective of the research programme was to investigate the impact of the Eurozone crisis in South East Europe and the development of pro-growth policies in the context of continuing EU integration through a set of integrated projects, building on previous LSEE research in this area. The research projects included in the programme investigate (i) the spill-over effects of the Eurozone crisis and the effects of anti-crisis policy measures with a focus on the relationship between institutions, policy and growth; (ii) entrepreneurship, externalities and growth focusing on innovative firms, enterprise zones, business-education linkages and inclusive growth in small and medium sized enterprises; and (iii) the political economy of public sector reforms in an age of austerity with a focus on health systems reform. The first project ran for twelve months from September 2012; the other two projects were carried out at a later phase of research. The programme was directed by Drs Will Bartlett and Vassilis Monastiriotis with research assistance from Helios Reveli.

Security and Minorities

Recent and current research in the area of conflict management and  state-building covers topics such as the role of the EU as state-builder, the limits of EU foreign policy in Kosovo, the role of international organisations, transforming the Balkans (in collaboration with the US-Greece Task Force) and quality of life in FYR Macedonia. Additionally, minority rights research focuses on Roma rights, post-conditionality and ethnic relations in FYR Macedonia.

Research Projects and Programmes Associated with Stream 3

The Foreign Policy of Counter Secession Project

In recent years the question of contested states – also known as de facto states or unrecognised states - has become increasingly significant. However, most attention has been focused on the efforts by these territories to cement their independence and gain recognition. What has not been studied is the way in which the states from which these countries have emerged try to prevent them from gaining legitimacy. Drawing on the cases of Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, this project examines the structural factors that shape recognition and explores the specific diplomatic, political and legal tools states have at their disposal to try to prevent recognition. LSEE Fellow: Dr James Ker-Lindsay, Eurobank EFG Senior Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe 

Project Outputs: This project resulted in the publication of a book by Oxford University Press with the further potential for the publication of one or more articles in peer reviewed academic journals.

The Politics of Enlargement: The EU and South East Europe

This project sought to question the essentially normative basis/assumption of the impetus behind the enlargement process by focussing on South East Europe. It may be argued that in practice the accession process may lead to substantial ‘change’, whether this is defined as Europeanisation or transformation. But what this proposal wishesd to explore is the idea that many decisions to enlarge, taken by the EU and its member-state, with the focus on South East Europe, are driven by interests of specific member-states which supersede the normative premises inherent in the conventional wisdom. In recent years, it has become increasingly less clear to outside observers that the process of accession is in fact highly politicised from start to finish. This project therefore aimed to challenge the prevailing view that accession is an administrative process, driven primarily by normative concerns, by examining the interests and geopolitics behind decisions to enlarge, and the highly politicised way in which the European Union has managed enlargement in South East Europe. It sought to show that high and low politics permeate the entire accession process. Crucially, in some cases, this politicisation can be justified, and produce beneficial outcomes. However, it also showed that in many cases politics has played a very negative role and undermined the European Union’s credibility. 

Project Outcome: The primary output for this project was a co-authored book (Economides and Ker-Lindsay). In addition, it was hoped that one or two co-authored articles may also be produced from the material collected during the research.