Newsletter 26/2013 - Activities in brief

RCC Board adopts the organization’s new strategy and work programme

The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Board adopted the RCC Strategy and Work Programme 2014-2016, in Sarajevo, on 25 April 2013. The Strategy and the Work Programme revolve around implementation of the South East Europe 2020 (SEE 2020) strategy, as the organization's contribution to overcoming the economic crisis in the region.

"The main goal of SEE 2020 is the economic and social growth in the region: employment growth by 12%, increase in mutual trade by 230%, the region's GDP rise from the current 38% to 46% of the EU average", Goran Svilanovic, RCC Secretary General said.

"We also want to see an increase in the total inflow of direct foreign investments in the region by 120%, and in the number of people with university education on the labour market by 300,000. In order to make this happen, production, trade, investments and education must be improved, and our national governments must be far more efficient than they are nowadays."

The document, leaning onto the EU growth strategy Europe 2020, brings competitiveness and development back to the region's focus. Ministers of economy from the region are expected to adopt the strategy in November this year.

The RCC Board also adopted the new statute of the organization, accepted the Annual Report of the Secretary General on regional cooperation in South East Europe for 2012-2013, and heard his report on activities of the organization’s Secretariat in the period February-April 2013.

The 27-member RCC Board meets three times a year and is chaired by the RCC Secretary General. The Board provides the RCC with operational guidance and supervision. It consists of those RCC members contributing to the budget of the RCC Secretariat, as well as the European Union.

Letter of intent on joint aviation services in South East Europe signed by aviation organizations from the region

The Directors General of Civil Aviation Authorities as well as the Chief Executive Officers of the respective Air Navigation Service (ANS) providers of Albania, Kosovo*, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Hungary signed a Letter of Intent on the Joint Service Provision Area Initiative (JSPAI) in South East Europe (SEE), under the auspices of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 29 April 2013. Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia took part in the Conference, strongly supporting the initiative, and expressing the intention to join the signatory parties at a later stage, following internal procedure.

The Initiative aims to strengthen regional cooperation in air traffic in SEE, focusing on more efficient and safer air navigation services provision.

The Joint Service Provision Area Initiative has been designed to supply economic benefits for its participants and their stakeholders through joint projects and cooperation between regional civil aviation authorities and air navigation service providers. It is based on real needs and may serve as a means for putting in practice the existing bilateral/multilateral agreements concluded among the signatories.

Jovan Tegovski, RCC Secretariat Chief of staff commended the agreement reached, adding that it provided a ground for stepwise development of a Joint Service Provision Service Area (JSPA) in SEE as a unique initiative towards better quality and competitiveness of the regional provision of Air Navigation Services. 

"Your participation confirms that you are willing to engage your full capacity to work towards strengthening regional cooperation in air traffic in SEE, with the aim of effective implementation of the envisaged EU requirements, particularly in light of administrative and institutional weaknesses in the region and ways to overcome them."

The event brought together representatives of Civil Aviation Authorities of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Hungary. Chief Executive Officers of national air navigation service providers and of HungaroControl also took part in the conference. It was co-organized by the RCC Secretariat and the Montenegrin Civil Aviation Agency.


* 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

South East Europe Investment Committee to focus on SEE 2020 growth strategy

The South East Europe Investment Committee (SEEIC) of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) adopted an updated work programme focused on development of the South East Europe 2020 regional growth strategy. The SEEIC meeting took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 19 March 2013. 

The South East Europe (SEE) 2020 strategy sets out the region’s growth and development vision. By 2020, the region needs to increase its GDP from 38% to 46% of the EU average and the total value of regional trade while decreasing the trade deficit from 14.1 to 11.6% of the regional GDP.

“With the implementation of SEE 2020, the whole region, and its each economy, will have an improved business environment, trade and investment policies as well as the overall government and public administration efficiency”, Jelica Minic, Head of the RCC Expert Pool, said at the meeting.

“In 2013, the RCC will continue mobilizing support from regional governments and organizations, in order to have the strategy adopted by the ministers of economy by the end of the year.”

The RCC Secretariat has initiated a broad and consultative process to develop the SEE 2020 strategy and action plan by November 2013, after the ministers of the Western Balkans economies adopted a set of regional and national targets back in November 2012. The strategy is based on five pillars: integrated, smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth, and good governance for growth.

South East European Forum on Climate Change Adaptation (SEEFCCA) Network Coordinators meet in Sarajevo

Coordinators of the South East European Forum on Climate Change Adaptation (SEEFCCA) held a meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 17-18 April 2013, agreeing a joint regional project to ensure sustainable exchange through intensified sector cooperation in human health and civil protection, biodiversity, water, tourism and energy. 

The agreed project idea that would be further developed and submitted for external funding in the coming weeks is to enable cross-sector dialogue, networking and strengthening of SEEFCCA capacities to foster public participation in policy making and awareness-raising activities.

The meeting also discussed activities of national networks on climate change adaptation in Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It particularly explored prospects of potential cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and other initiatives on climate change adaptation, such as the Climate Forum East in the Caucasus region. 

The event participants agreed on SEEFCCA's regional coordination structure concerning continuation of the website management and allocation of tasks on the joint newsletter and representation activities.

The meeting gathered coordinators of national climate change adaptation networks from Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as representatives of the Austrian Red Cross, WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, Environmental Improvement Centre and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat. It was co-organised by the SEEFCCA and the RCC Secretariat, with the support of the Austrian Red Cross.

Education, innovation and healthcare for growth in South East Europe discussed in Istanbul

The Business Advisory Council for Southeastern Europe and Eurasia (BAC SEE) held its regular meeting titled Lessons in Development: Education, Innovation and Health care for Growth in Southeastern Europe in Istanbul, Turkey, on 9 May 2013.

The meeting that gathered BAC SEE members and associates from all over the world was organized by the BAC SEE, the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the Bosphorus University.

The Regional Cooperation Council’s (RCC) Secretary General, Goran Svilanovic, addressed the participants as the event’s keynote speaker.

Svilanovic elaborated on the RCC’s upcoming 3-year programme for 2014-16, inviting members of the business community to actively engage in the development of the regional vision for SEE 2020.

“Assigned with the task to help promote smart, sustainable, inclusive and integrated growth in the Balkans under the 2020 strategy, especially at a time of crisis, the RCC has set very specific goals related to the regional economy, and BAC SEE experience and input can be very valuable in this regard.”

Elaborating on specific goals, Svilanovic also placed special emphasis on job creation, and in particular youth employment, so as to prevent further brain drain from the region.

The Business Advisory Council for Southeastern Europe and Eurasia is an independent network of businessmen and investors from all over the world, committed to promoting trade, investment and cross-border cooperation in transition economies. Established under the auspices of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) in 1997, the BAC SEE has since been serving as the private sector arm of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (SP) and its successor, the Regional Cooperation Council.