Newsletter 30/2013 - In focus

YEAR 2014 TO BE MARKED WITH BEGINNING OF SEE 2020 STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, by Gazmend Turdiu, Head of Expert Pool, RCC Secretariat

This is the last edition of the Regional Cooperation Council’s (RCC) newsletter. It does not just mark the forthcoming upgrade of RCC’s public relations and communication channels, but it also corresponds with a significant advance in our regional cooperation: the Ministerial Conference of the South East Europe Investment Committee (SEEIC), held on 21 November 2013 in Sarajevo, endorsed the South East Europe 2020 strategy (SEE 2020) “Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective”. From now on, cooperation in South East Europe (SEE) will be based upon clearly defined objectives and measurable targets. It will be focused on areas of the highest potential for joint action and result, as well as properly coordinated by agreed mechanisms that will follow its implementation and monitor the delivery of results.

Against this background, the RCC Secretariat is taking on a new role, and new responsibilities. Peace, stability and reconciliation used to be the number one priority at the time of RCC’s inception. As a consequence, the key RCC goal was to build confidence through regional cooperation. At present, while those matters still remain part of our agenda, the priority has shifted to promoting economic development, job creation and competitiveness. 

Two years ago, the RCC was tasked to coordinate the drafting of a regional strategy that, through a regional concerted action, would push forward the European Union (EU) integration agenda of the candidate and potential candidate countries. The RCC has delivered. The SEE 2020 strategy is the result of intense consultations with over 1,500 representatives of the governments, private sector and civil society organizations. 

As the very title of the SEE 2020 suggests - “Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective” - the strategy aims at narrowing the existing differences between the economies of the enlargement countries and the EU average, so that the candidates and potential candidates to the EU be better prepared to face the challenges of the accession process. In order to address the core challenges our region is facing, SEE 2020 has been based on these five pillars:

  • smart growth (emphasizing education, innovation, research and development, culture and creative sectors)
  • sustainable growth (ensuring economic sustainability through enterprise creation and export increase, as well as energy efficiency and climate control)
  • inclusive growth (supporting employment generation, social inclusion, good health and well-being)
  • integrated growth (promoting closer regional integration in terms of trade and investment), and
  • good governance for growth (including effective public services and fight against corruption).

The paperwork is done. The implementation of the strategy is about to begin.

As the implementation of the strategy is to happen at national level, the next step undertaken by the RCC is to assist the translation of the strategic document into national action plans. This has already started with Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina, to be followed with the remaining Western Balkan economies.

Tasked by our stakeholders to coordinate joint efforts at regional level, assist implementation of SEE 2020 at national level, and monitor and report the progress achieved, the RCC Secretariat will be the catalyst of those processes that should generate growth and employment in our region, and that should also bring the candidate and potential candidate countries of the region closer to the EU. 

Gazmend Turdiu, an Albanian national, has joined the Regional Cooperation Council’s Secretariat in September 2013 as Head of Expert Pool. Prior to that, Turdiu served many years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of his home country at various positions including Secretary General, Director General for Legal, International and Consular Affairs, and Ambassador of Albania to the Federal Republic of Germany,  Swiss Confederation and Principality of  Liechtenstein; Director of Department for Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Trade; and Diplomatic Advisor to the Minister of Defence. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tirana, Albania.

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