On September 29, 2023, Tirana hosted the coordination meeting of the Western Balkan 6 Ministries of Foreign Affairs (WB6 MFAs) under the Berlin Process. This gathering included representatives from key regional and international bodies, both in person and virtually.
The core objective was to discuss policy topics and interventions relevant to the upcoming Ministerial Meeting of Foreign Affairs and to provide an update on the agreements scheduled for signing at the Berlin Process Summit 2023. Proposals introduced spanned across the establishment of a regional cybersecurity unit, bolstering the integration into the digital domain within the single market, and policy strides toward reducing roaming fees.
Significant progress was noted in the Mutual Recognition of Professions (MRA 2.0), and a joint statement on the Climate and Energy Partnership illustrated political and financial commitments from the German government. During the meeting, several policy issues were brought to the forefront of discussions, potentially serving as initiatives within the framework of Summit 2023. These include 1. The establishment of a modern payment system aimed at boosting the digital economy. 2. The anticipated collaboration among countries in the trade and transport facility program and 3. Deliberation and agreement on the WB WI-FI initiative as a vital component of the digital agenda, with the expectation of signing a memorandum of understanding with the Western Balkans (WB) to strengthen the digital agenda.
Additional discussions included the initiation of a convergence observatory with the OECD to tackle data-related convergence issues and the implementation of mobility agreements. Completed technical level agreements highlighted included recognizing authorized economic operators and professional qualifications, e-commerce decisions, and initiating a veterinary working group.
The meeting reaffirmed the EU’s steadfast commitment to the Western Balkans, underscoring the Berlin Process's pivotal role in supporting the region’s EU integration aspirations. The dialogue spotlighted economic convergence with neighboring EU member states and accelerating integration within the internal market as core discussion points for the upcoming Summit 2023.
As preparations for the Ministerial Meeting of Foreign Affairs continue, the developments and dialogues under the Berlin Process emphasize the importance of enhanced regional cooperation, security, and economic integration. These ongoing efforts are a testament to the collective journey towards a unified and prosperous European continent.
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