The Regional Hidden Economy Forum in Skopje, Macedonia on 7 February was organised by the Center for Research and Policy Making (CRPM) from Macedonia, in cooperation with the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) from Albania and the Democracy 4 Development (D4D) from Kosovo*. The forum brought together over 90 researchers and policymakers from 10 CEI countries to discuss the latest trends in measuring the hidden economy and transforming the findings into policies.
 
During the event a comparative study on the hidden economy was presented, which analyses the spread and trends of hidden economic activities. The results show that the countries of South-East Europe are facing similar problems, such as undeclared wages and trade, and leading to relatively high indices of hidden economies. It also suggests combining repressive with incentive measures in order for employers to be encouraged to declare their employees with their full amount of wages.
 
The event was opened by the director of the Macedonian Public Revenue Office, Sanja Lukarevska, who pointed out that “the inspections are on the field on daily basis, citizens constantly report irregularities; however, non-issuing fiscal receipts and illegal operations of companies that are particularly well established in the Macedonian economy are still present”.
 
During the forum, experiences from Bulgaria, Kosovo* and Albania were also shared on how their institutions are dealing with tax evasion. Çerkin Dukolli, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare from Kosovo* emphasised the reforms directed towards formalisation of undeclared work and social rights, whereas Nikolla Lera, General Director of Macroeconomic and Fiscal Policies and Employment, highlighted the efforts of the Albanian Ministry of Finance and Economy for awareness raising and creating a bottom-up pressure to employers to divert from non-formalising labour.
 
This event was co-funded by the CEI Cooperation Fund.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.