Newsletter 1/2010 - Activities in brief

Workshop on importance of air transport for economic and social development of South East Europe held in Sarajevo

The Regional Cooperation Council Secretariat (RCC) organized a workshop Importance of Air Transport Sector in Economic and Social Development of South East Europe in Sarajevo, on 11 February 2010.

The participants recognized that the existing connectivity network and air transport frequencies within the region are far bellow growing needs and demands of the travelling public. They underlined that the air transport infrastructure and a number of airline operators that already exist in South East Europe (SEE) seem technically capable for a quick enhancement and improvement of air transport connectivity within the region.

“Air transport infrastructure in SEE is 20 years behind the rest of Europe, with some or none investments over the recent years, which is why air transport segments require urgent improvements”, said RCC Secretary General, Hido Biščević, who opened the event.

“We should explore means of increasing the number of regional lines in order to strengthen mutual ties and mobility as a precondition for development of our region”, added Biščević.

Participants emphasized that while all leading European air carriers are already operating in the region, presently only 10% of commercial activity of all SEE airliners is realized within the SEE network. New air links within South East Europe could thus considerably improve mobility and accelerate economic integration and cooperation processes.

The workshop agreed that the RCC Secretariat would, with support of the RCC members from South East Europe and relevant partners in the air traffic sector, prepare a feasibility study on developing air transport links within SEE and determine potential levels of traffic on routes within the region.

Representatives of the European Commission, the Association of the European Airlines, the Airport Council International-Europe, the Civil Aviation Authorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, UNMIK/Kosovo, region’s airports, airlines, chambers of commerce, etc. took part in the meeting.

RCC Secretariat hosts IPA Multi-beneficiary meetings on public administration reform, environment and disaster risk reduction

The meeting on public administration reform, hosted by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat and held on 2 March 2010, provided update on the outcome of various consultations in relation to the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) Multi-beneficiary (MB) three-year plan in the field of Public Administration and Governance. It gathered representatives of Western Balkans countries in charge of public administration.

The participants discussed three-year sector plans, the final draft versions of which were presented at the IPA Multi-beneficiary coordination meeting held in Brussels in mid-March.

The second meeting, organized by the European Commission and hosted and supported by the RCC Secretariat on 3 March 2010, discussed next steps in the new approach of the European Commission in programming Multi-Beneficiary IPA focusing on the Sector Plan on Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction. It gathered representatives of the European Commission, beneficiaries, RCC Secretariat and other stakeholders.

The Multi-beneficiary IPA Strategy Work Group on Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction first met in October 2009 in Brussels, when the so-called Strategic Choices (comprehensive areas eligible for MB IPA support in the period 2011-2013) were adopted. Following the 3 March adoption of the Sector Plan, an MB IPA multiannual indicative planning document and MB IPA annual programmes for 2011, 2012 and 2013 will be produced. Each annual programme will consist of a limited number of project fiches i.e. concrete projects to be supported by MB IPA.

RCC co-organized workshop stresses importance of public research institutes in upgrading Western Balkans competitiveness

A two-day South East European workshop held in Istanbul on 8-9 March 2010 agreed that the role of public research institutes in technological development of the Western Balkan countries is instrumental to upgrading the competitiveness of the region.

The event was co-organised by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), under the auspices of the Turkish Chairmanship-in-Office of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

It gathered representatives of public research agencies and ministries responsible for science and education of the RCC members from South East Europe, as well as representatives of relevant international organisations. They underlined the importance of the RCC in strengthening cooperation in South East Europe in the fields of science and research.

The workshop concluded that the research infrastructures play an increasing role in the advancement of knowledge, technology and their exploitation. They stimulate industrial impacts and build an interface between science and industry. Further on, research infrastructures create ‘knowledge factories’ and inspire technological innovation.

“In view of the current global economic crisis, and its adverse effects in our region, the role of science and research is paramount to increasing competitiveness and crucial for the continuation of sustainable development of South East Europe as a whole,” head of the RCC Secretariat’s Building Human Capital Unit, Mladen Dragašević, said in his opening remarks.

“I am truly convinced that our joint efforts will not only open opportunities for establishment of contacts and cooperation in the research area, but will also increase our capacity to create genuine knowledge-based societies”, he added.

Opening remarks at the workshop were delivered also by TÜBİTAK Vice President, Ömer Anlağan, and representative of the Turkish SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office, Güçlü Kalafat.