Newsletter 13/2011 - Activities in brief

Social agenda for the Western Balkans in focus of RCC-organized conference in Sarajevo

A two-day conference that discussed potentials for development of regional social agenda for the Western Balkans was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 25-26 May 2011. The first meeting of the kind addressed the issues of employment, poverty reduction and social inclusion.

The event was organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat, with support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

The aim of the conference was to initiate dialogue at the regional level on important social issues in the Western Balkans, compatible to EU accession process.

Opening addresses were delivered by Jelica Minic, Deputy RCC Secretary General; Roland Feicht, Director of Regional FES Project for Labour Relations and Social Dialogue in South East Europe; and Yngve Engstroem, Head of Regional Programmes Unit of European Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement.

In her opening addressed Minic highlighted that the region of South East Europe lacks a strong tradition of social dialogue adding that basic institutional structures have been created over the past two decades and considerable investment has gone into the capacity building of social partners ever since.

"The issue of establishing a trustworthy and productive relationship remains an outstanding challenge. Given the ongoing efforts of regional governments to develop measures aimed at addressing economic challenges, the time is also ripe to insert the social partners into the current economic policy debate." 

The meeting brought together regional policy makers, social and international partners who provided ground for sharing experiences and exploring the scope for transnational social policies.

The participants discussed key issues that can contribute to the establishment of a long - term vision of social development that would align the countries closely to EU’s social agenda and Europe 2020 strategy, ensure sustainability, comprehensiveness and efficiency of social policies, and mainstream such policies into economic reform processes.

Economic reforms and social agendas are defined as priority areas for the RCC in the organisation's Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013.

Sava river basin potentials discussed at RCC-hosted roundtable

The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat hosted a roundtable on fundraising for projects of the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC) in Sarajevo on 17 May 2011.

The purpose of the event was to identify ways to deepen cooperation with competent national bodies and to facilitate and accelerate fundraising activities for the ISRBC projects from national and regional sources.

The meeting brought together relevant representatives of the Framework Agreement on Sava River Basin (FASRB) parties from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, the ISRBC and the RCC Secretariat.

Opening addresses were delivered by Jelica Minic, Deputy RCC Secretary General, and Dejan Komatina, Secretary of the ISRBC.

In her opening address, Minic informed the present about readiness of the international financial institutions to assists countries from South East Europe (SEE) with the ISRBC projects starting already in 2014, as expressed at the RCC-organized Donors’ Conference in Brussels in March 2011.

She added that the roundtable should explore possibilities for advanced cooperation between the RCC and relevant bodies of Framework Agreement on Sava River Basin (FASRB) signatories and fundraising support for “Sava river projects”. 

Dejan Komatina, ISRBC Secretary said that a variety of projects that required funding was nominated, ranging from the river transport, the protection from floods to the protection of waters.  

“The European Union’s (EU) Strategy for the Danube Region represents a new operational framework that involves several funds, including programme of cross-border cooperation in SEE.” 

Komatina singled out renewal of the Sava river transport potential as very beneficial for development of the entire region. 

Improved coordination of donor assistance for development of regional infrastructure and promotion of cooperation with relevant stakeholders is a priority of the RCC, confirmed by the organization’s Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013.