Bregu: While waiting for EU plans for the region, we should focus on connectivity through regional cooperation and serious domestic reforms
Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council was a Keynote Speaker as 5th edition of Tirana Connectivity Forum
Tirana – “Instead of having a focused discussion on Connectivity agenda and how much out of the 1 billion euro of the European Union’s (EU) grants from 2015 to 2020 was spent or how important connecting people and markets in the region is, etc. this October, this meeting included, the region is re-focused to its EU prospects and answering the “What comes next?” question”, said Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) in her Keynote Speech at the 2019 Tirana Connectivity Forum (TCF) that is taking place in Tirana on 29-31 October 2019.
“Europe is in deep crisis of identifying its philosophy and commitment with the region. This is the real border today. I don’t know what comes next but until EU is ready to tell us what the plans for this region are, I can just say that would be smart for us all to work on two dimensions: increasing connectivity through regional cooperation and serious domestic reforms, while being aware that the EU membership means a transformation agenda, and not an obsession with dates or methodologies. We need to focus on dealing with the brain drain with a people–centric perspective, ensure free movement of citizens with ID cards in the regions, starting from business and young persons, and move on with digital agenda. We successfully managed to connect the region through Free Roaming Agreement in force since 1 July. But digitalisation is not only reducing tariffs of telephony.”
“The region needs additional support to undergo necessary reforms and catch up the EU rhythm. The EU might reconsider their proposal and include the region in the structural funds mechanism. They have taken some more time (up to May 2020) to work on their new approach on enlargement, but in order to avoid further ‘geopolitical damages’ to the region, this decision should be taken with all WB six on board. Is regional cooperation or connectivity a substitute for the EU membership? No. But we can’t keep crying and pointing the blame thirsty finger to someone in hope that by doing that unemployment in the region will decrease,” concluded Bregu.
The event was officially opened by Belinda Balluku, Minister for Infrastructure and Energy of Albania, followed by address of Luigi Soreca, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Albania.
This year’s Forum is devoted to regional cooperation in energy; institutional challenges in transport connectivity; people-to-people connectivity and human capital; Western Balkans on their way to EU; connectivity and geopolitics; reforms and connectivity; including a discussion on youth challenges and digital economy: building on Poznan WB Summit, held as a side event.
The 5th edition of TCF organised by the Cooperation and Development Institute (CDI) with support of the RCC, gathers experts, researchers, academics, civil society organisations, WB Summits’ coordinators and other policy-makers involved in EU Enlargement in WB6, regional cooperation, and connectivity dynamics.
More information about #TCF2019 at https://bit.ly/34hBUXg