Newsletter 27/2013 - Activities in brief

South East Europe 2020 growth strategy’s working group on competitiveness created

A competitiveness working group comprising of regional experts in the field was created under the South East Europe 2020 (SEE 2020) growth strategy, at a meeting hosted by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 19 June 2013.  

The competitiveness dimension contained under the sustainable growth pillar of SEE 2020 will work to improve regional value chains in the Western Balkans, i.e. the ability of the countries to participate in different stages of manufactured goods production.

The meeting presented an outline of inputs for the strategy and agreed to have the first draft of SEE 2020 ready in July 2013.

“The RCC will be focusing fully on SEE 2020”, said Goran Svilanovic, RCC Secretary General, at the opening of the meeting.

“We will work closely with national administrations in preparing and implementing the strategy. We are also thankful to the European Commission (EC) and RCC Board for support.”

“National administrations will have a key role in making the strategy a success, which will be assessed also through EC progress reports. Deputy prime ministers in charge of European integration and line ministries will be the ones directly responsible for ensuring the region’s ability to respond to the economic crisis and globalization challenges.”

The RCC Secretariat and external advisors provided participants with a proposal for the strategy methodology and a schedule to guide the SEE 2020 process until the end of the year, by which time the strategy is to be adopted.

The meeting agreed on roles and responsibilities of national administrations and regional partners in the adoption, implementation and monitoring of the SEE 2020 strategy.

“We believe that our work on SEE 2020 will demonstrate that the region is ready to cooperate and join efforts in shaping its future, and confirm its main common goal: integration with the EU ‘family’,” said Hamdo Tinjak, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who co-chaired the meeting.

Participants of RCC Annual Meeting and SEECP Foreign Ministers extend support to the Regional Cooperation Council

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) approved the annual report of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretary General and the organisation's Strategy and Work Programme for 2014-2016, focused on SEE 2020 – a Job-Creating Growth and EU Integration Strategy, in Ohrid, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on 31 May 2013. The approval followed the endorsement of both documents by the participants of the 5th Annual Meeting of the organization a day earlier. 

The outgoing SEECP Chair-in-Office Foreign Minister Poposki congratulated the RCC on its 5th anniversary and expressed gratitude for excellent cooperation during his country’s South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) Chairmanship-in-Office. He fully supported the RCC’s annual report and the new strategy, highlighting cooperation in the fields of science and culture.

The SEECP Foreign Ministers stressed importance of the RCC and praised its Secretariat for the successful job performed thus far. They welcomed the common regional approach contained in SEE 2020, currently being developed under RCC auspices, and recognized its important role in exiting the economic crisis and reaching sustainable development.

“Let us make the best use of SEE 2020 in addressing the region’s economic development priorities and making it more competitive. In that way, we will also get closer to the EU”, said Goran Svilanović, RCC Secretary General, while addressing the meeting.

The participants underlined the need to associate national development strategies with the SEE 2020 strategy in order to ensure its successful implementation. The document leans on the EU strategy Europe 2020 and it is to be adopted by the region’s ministers of economy in November 2013.

Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, congratulated the RCC for ensuring all-inclusiveness in its work, and expressed EU readiness to bring more and more EU-related agenda to the region.

The meeting participants extended congratulations to Croatia on becoming an EU member in July. They acknowledged the enlargement process as a strong and credible policy that enables political and economic reforms serving the strategic interest of both the EU and the region.

The Ministers emphasized that the RCC should continue to play an important role within the current and the incoming multi-beneficiary Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).