Newsletter 30/2013 - Activities in brief

EUR 3.575 million grant awarded by the European Commission for the future activities of the RCC Secretariat

A 3,575,000 euro grant agreement supporting activities of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat in 2014 was signed between the European Commission (EC) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) in Brussels, Belgium on 19 December 2013.

The grant amount is significantly larger than the EC’s previous contributions to the work of the RCC, which amounted to approximately 800,000 euro per year, and is linked to increased support and expectations from the organization by the Commission.

The EC contribution will be used to implement the RCC Strategy and Work Programme in the part related to the South East Europe (SEE) 2020 strategy.

2014 will mark the beginning of SEE 2020 strategy implementation, which aims to improve living conditions in the region and bring competitiveness and development back in focus, closely following the vision of the EU strategy Europe 2020, by stressing out the shared vision of the SEE economies to open up to 1 million new jobs by 2020.

The RCC will focus its activities in four main areas of action: set up efficient mechanisms for coordination between governments, regional structures and the RCC, and facilitate establishment of intra-governmental coordination mechanisms on SEE 2020; establish a monitoring system to track progress on SEE 2020; support the establishment and help strengthen dimension coordinators; and provide direct interventions to implement SEE 2020 in areas where adequate structures or support programmes are missing.

RCC Secretary General Goran Svilanovic held his first Twitter interview discussing SEE 2020 strategy

The region of South East Europe (SEE) may progress only if we work together diligently on transforming our economies into more open, competitive and interconnected ones, said the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Goran Svilanović in his first Twitter interview with the regional press held at the RCC Secretariat in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 18 December 2013.

While answering public Twitter questions addressed to him, Svilanovic presented ambitious goals set by the recently adopted South East Europe 2020 strategy. He pointed out that RCC's ambition is to grow all of the region’s efforts towards joining the EU.

“If we manage to reach or even come close to the strategy’s targets, each and every citizen will feel the benefits. One million jobs is four million family members affected – people that pay taxes, buy houses, shop for groceries, travel, drive cars”, Svilanović said.

The goal of the SEE 2020 Strategy is to improve living conditions in the region and bring competitiveness and development back in focus, closely following the vision of the EU strategy Europe 2020. It stresses out the shared vision of the SEE economies to open up to 1 million new jobs by 2020, by enabling employment growth from 39% to 44%, increase of total regional trade turnover by more than double from 94 to 210 billion euro, the rise of the region’s GDP per capita from current 36% to 44% of the EU average, and the addition of 300,000 highly qualified people to the workforce.

The RCC Secretary General's first Twitter interview under the hashtag #SEE2020 gathered journalists and interested public from across the SEE region and represents one of the ways of involving interested parties in the comprehensive process of theSEE 2020 strategy implementation.

Online media regulation in South East Europe, focus of panel debate held in Belgrade, Serbia

A panel debate on findings of the Academy on Media Law in South East Europe[1]: Online media regulation – Where does regulation end and overregulation start? took place in Belgrade, Serbia, on 13 December 2013.

The event was held back-to-back with the 2nd South East Europe Rounds of the Monroe E. Price International Oxford Media Law Moot Court Competition, with participation of students from across the region. It was organized by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat and the Law Faculty of the Belgrade University.

The debate was a follow up to the second edition of the Academy on Media Law in South East Europe, held in Sarajevo, on 3-5 September 2013, during which the participants discussed issues of media pluralism, public service broadcasting and the freedom of the media on the Internet.

Welcome address were delivered by Goran Svilanović, RCC Secretary General, while the panelists included Saša Mirković, Assistant Minister for Information of Serbia; Nevena Ružić, Assistant Secretary General, Office of the Commissioner for Public Access to Information and Personal Data Protection of Serbia; Boris Bergant, Expert of the European Broadcasting Union; and Snežana Trpevska, Expert of the Academy on Media Law in Sout East Europe and a lecturer at the School of Journalism in Skopje. The moderator of the debate was Vuk Cucić, Assistant Lecturer at the Belgrade Law Faculty.

The Academy on Media Law seeks to enhance cooperation in the development and implementation of progressive media legislation in South East Europe in line with international and European media standards. It aims at safeguarding media freedoms and the right to freedom of expression by sharing and learning from the best legal frameworks and practices in the enforcement of media standards in the region.