Representatives from Western Balkans Ministries of Foreign Affairs, EU Member States, and international organizations convened in Tirana on May 19 for a Berlin Process Coordination Meeting. This session set the stage for the upcoming Berlin Process Summit scheduled for October 16, 2023 in Tirana. The aim was to assess progress since the 2022 Summit and discuss activities and steps for the 2023 Summit preparations.
Key Highlights were:
1. Addressing Regional Priorities: The Albanian Chairmanship for 2023 outlined key priorities for advancing Western Balkans cooperation and development. These encompassed connectivity, digital integration, energy security, and youth engagement. These initiatives are expected to foster regional ties, enhance infrastructure, and promote economic growth.
2. Common Regional Market (CRM): Participants acknowledged the significance of economic integration for the region's progression. They welcomed the technical negotiations on the Agreement for Recognition of Professional Qualifications for healthcare professionals and expressed commitment to tasks within the CRM framework.
3. Youth and Mobility: Prioritizing youth involvement, the participants supported mobility agreements and negotiations for access to higher education. The roaming agreement, a result of the Berlin Process, was highlighted for its role in improving connectivity among citizens.
4. Connectivity and Integration: The meeting emphasized transport and digital connectivity within the region and with the EU. Steps included implementing the Green Lanes initiative for efficient border crossings and reducing data roaming charges. Strengthening cybersecurity and energy sector measures were also emphasized.
5. Research and Education: The Albanian Chairmanship aimed to enhance research infrastructure, align economies in research mechanisms, and foster education engagement. Prioritizing trade, strengthening links to the internal market, and sustainable green financing were also key focuses.
6. Private Sector and European Agencies: Acknowledging the private sector's role, the integration of businesses into priority-setting was endorsed. Identification of European agencies for the region's participation was highlighted.
7. Towards the 2023 Summit: The meeting concluded with a shared vision for the upcoming Berlin Process Summit, reaffirming the commitment to regional integration and development, fostering economic resilience, and achieving shared success.
This gathering underscored the dedication of Western Balkans and EU stakeholders to enhancing collaboration, infrastructure, and economic growth, marking a significant step towards the upcoming Berlin Process Summit.
Please find the full report below: