Newsletter 22/2012 - Activities in brief

Extension of Single European Sky Programme in South East Europe beyond 2012 proposed at the third ISIS Governing Body meeting

The third Governing Body meeting of the Implementation of Single European Sky (ISIS) Programme in South East Europe was held in Ohrid, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on 12 September 2012.

The meeting, which brought together representatives of relevant national civil and military authorities responsible for air traffic in South East Europe, ended by approving a progress report and proposing ISIS continuation beyond 2012. It was co-organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport and the ISIS Programme Secretariat.

The progress report makes assessments on the transposition and implementation of Single European Sky (SES) programme in the region and achievements since the last ISIS Governing Body meeting held in September 2011 in Solin, Croatia.

The continuation of the ISIS Programme is to further support and sustain the extension of Single European Sky to South East of Europe, aiming to enhance the interconnection of the air navigation network infrastructure and services and to align rules and standards.

The planned beneficiaries of the extended ISIS Programme (ISIS II) are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo**.

“Over the last several years, the South East European countries invested considerable efforts in reforming and modernizing the civil aviation sector, thereby responding to the increasing challenges in this area. Thus, the positive results and progress achieved in all key Single European Sky (SES) domains have to be mentioned and recognised, whilst emphasizing that the commitment of respective national administrations should continue so as to achieve the goals set under the ISIS Programme”, said Hido Biscevic, RCC Secretary General, while opening the meeting.

Biscevic added that the RCC is ready to make its capacities available to jointly identify the areas of possible cooperation, together with the ISIS Programme Secretariat and other interested partners, in order to strengthen institutional capacities of national administrations in South East Europe to cope independently with EU demands in this field.

The meeting also presented activities to prepare a study which would simulate the air traffic flow in the region with a view to increase regional connectivity. The project is currently being prepared, with RCC Secretariat’s support, for submission to funding from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF).

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence

New Skills for New Jobs conference discusses long-term social development in Western Balkans

A two-day regional conference New Skills for New Jobs in Western Balkans gathered relevant national policy makers, social partners, experts and international organizations in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 12-13 July 2012. The event discussed steps for establishment of a long-term vision of social development in the region, in line with the EU’s social agenda. It was organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

In her opening remarks, Jelica Minic, Deputy RCC Secretary General, stressed that all social development agenda 2020 goals aim to link regional processes with the key EU strategies in this domain, given that the region with its labour market is in both trade and financial terms focused on the EU. 

“We are trying to create a long-term vision within which we can move towards identified goals step-by-step. It cannot be a pure copy of what is happening in the EU but we have to tailor the right way that is realistic for our region."

The meeting focused on sharing knowledge, experience and good practices from the region and internationally in terms of skills gap analysis, and discuss ways for improving evidence based policy making for employment generation and skills provision.

The participants discussed regional social development objectives, tangible headline targets and indicators as part of a social development agenda 2020 for the Western Balkans countries.

The event was a follow up to the conference organized by the RCC Secretariat and the FES in October 2011. Mainstreaming the social development agenda into economic policy reforms and deliberations has been an RCC priority. The RCC views promotion of social economy and new jobs creation as key ingredients of economic and social development in the region.

Competitiveness benefits from investments in information and communication technologies, concludes meeting on electronic-South East Europe

A meeting of the electronic-South East Europe (eSEE) initiative held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 11 July 2012 concluded that competitiveness in South East Europe (SEE) has benefited from investments in information and communication technologies (ICT), which play an important role in jobs creation of every country in the region.

The meeting, organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), brought together senior policy officials from the ministries in charge of ICT from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The participants discussed the status of implementation of the eSEE Agenda Plus, which promotes single, open and competitive ICT market, gives priorities to innovation and investment in research and education, and strives to achieve an inclusive e-Society.

“It is a high time for our countries to identify key regional actions that can be jointly implemented towards the completion of the eSEE Agenda Plus”, said Jelica Minić, Deputy RCC Secretary General, in her opening remarks.

“Such actions have to be clear, targeted and provide substantial value added at the regional level. Regional cooperation can help the countries develop ICT infrastructure, improve connectivity and exploit economies of scale for ICT education, financing and services. It can be an important tool for developing in a coordinated manner the necessary legal and regulatory framework to promote an e-society in line with EU rules and regulations.”

Representatives of the participating countries reported on recent efforts at the national level to implement the eSEE Agenda Plus, focusing on concrete achievements and challenges. The sessions reviewed past work done towards the identification of concrete regional projects in the ICT area and agreed on priority action in the future. They also discussed ways to translate Europe 2020 goals into regional actions in the context of the eSEE Agenda Plus.