6th Western Balkans Digital Summit opens in Sarajevo Bregu: By working on digital transformation we are working on Europeanisation of our region
- 04 Oct 2023
DS participants commend the role of RCC in EU-WB roaming prices reduction
Sarajevo – The sixth Western Balkans Digital Summit (WBDS), hosted by Bosnia and Herzegovina and supported by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), opened this morning in Sarajevo.
"The WB DS definitely steered a qualitatively new phase in regional cooperation on digitisation. It embodies upon the principles of collaboration, inclusivity, deliverables-setting among the WB6 governments and regional and international partners – and also it builds on the strong contribution from the industry. Four years ago at the second Western Balkans Digital Summit we kick-started the process of roaming charges reduction between WB and EU-WB, with signing the Regional Roaming Agreement which was a prerequisite for the one with the EU. As a result, two years later, in 2021, our region became roaming free within all WB6. And now as of this week, we brought it to real life with the official entry into effect of EU-WB data roaming charges reductions, based on the Declaration signed between the EU and WB operators last year at EU-WB Summit in Tirana", said RCC Secretary General Majlinda Bregu at the opening ceremony.
Participants of the Summit welcomed the EU-WB roaming charges reductions and commended the RCC's role in this process.
WBDS was opened by Borjana Kristo, Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides RCC Secretary General the opening ceremony included Edin Forto, Minister of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Oliver Varhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Roberto Viola, Director General of DG Connect, Stefan Schnorr, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (Berlin), Steliana Nedera, UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, Istanbul Regional Hub Director, and Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
“As the Digital Summit concludes its journey across all Western Balkan economies, marking the last event in this format, we must now aim higher for accelerated digital connectivity and accessibility in the region. By working on digitally transformed, yet inclusive Western Balkans – stronger together, we are sewing important parts of threads intricately woven into the fabrics of the Europeanisation of our region. It is a path towards more connected, accessible, and affordable future for all that we in RCC are fully committed and dedicated to. Our all-inclusive convening role, facilitation and expert capacities will remain a key backing on the challenging digitisation journey ahead!” concluded Bregu.
Later in the day, Secretary General Bregu moderated the panel “Transformative role of digitalisation – Shared vision and ambition of Western Balkan region” with the following panellists: Edin Forto, Minister of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Enkelejda Mucaj, Albanian Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Getoar Mjeku, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy from Pristina, Dritan Dauti, Skopje’s Chief of the Cabinet of Minister of Information Society and Administration, and Milan Dobrijević, Serbian State Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications from Belgrade.
Western Balkans Digital Summit aims to enhance collaboration and innovation in the digital sphere among Western Balkan economies, bringing together industry leaders, political decision-makers, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts. During these two days, participants will have the opportunity to engage in informative discussions, attend panel sessions, explore the latest technologies, and network with like-minded individuals from the region and beyond. The Digital Summit will serve as a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences, and best practices with the goal of fostering digital transformation and economic growth in the Western Balkans.
The RCC supported this biggest regional digital event for the sixth time in a row. WBDS is taking place annually in the framework of the Berlin Process and the Common Regional Market Agenda for the Western Balkans. After the first WBDS held in Skopje in 2018, in Belgrade, Tirana, Podgorica and Pristina in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively, this year the 6th Western Balkans Digital Summit is hosted by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.