News Archive

Bregu: Regional cooperation is the key for facing future challenges and opportunities, from energy security to food crisis
24 Sep 2022

New York – "Entire South East Europe finds itself facing similar challenges and similar opportunities, from energy security to food crisis, and regional cooperation is the key for them in the period to follow," said Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation ...

Bregu: Digitalisation necessitates an intergenerational approach – keeping our youth’s priorities and well-being at heart
21 Sep 2022

Pristina – “Today is a great day for Pristina.  It is the centre of gravity of one of the greatest Berlin Process initiatives – the Western Balkans Digital Summit. Pristina today bursts and radiates with the dynamism of so many start-ups, companies, experts and policy ...

Bregu: As long as we continue to subscribe to dialogue, compromise and cooperation, we invest in long-term stability, security and prosperity
09 Jun 2022

Thessaloniki – “Under the political guidance of SEECP and in consultations with all relevant actors and stakeholders, RCC identified those gaps in which the region should invest with technical as well as political capital. These all fall under the category of sustainable development, ...

Champion of Regional Cooperation to round off 14th RCC Annual Meeting
08 Jun 2022

Sarajevo/Thessaloniki – Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) is to hold its 14th Annual Meeting on Thursday, 9 June in Thessaloniki. RCC Secretary General Majlinda Bregu will present the RCC Annual Report and major accomplishments and results of the organisation in the past year while putting ...

Bregu: With slowed growth & inflation Western Balkans will have to amp-up regional cooperation
18 May 2022

Sarajevo - It is very difficult to sugar-coat the severity of economic effects of the war on the Western Balkans. It is equally difficult to accurately predict the true and longer-term impact, or to identify the opportunities for the region along the way. Our realities today are drastically ...

Bregu: Removing barriers is the first step in positioning Western Balkans at the world tourism map 
12 May 2022

Tirana – “Tourism has a vast potential as a major catalyst for job creation and a driving force for economic growth and development especially for tourism dependent regions like ours. In 2019 more than 12 million people visited Western Balkans, which brought us a profit of 7.2 billion ...

Balkathon 3.0 is on: RCC supports the best digital solutions in the Western Balkans
06 May 2022

Sarajevo – For the third time in a row, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) is launching an online competition for the best digital ideas and solutions from the Western Balkans - Balkathon 3.0. Applications are open until 16 June. 

Bregu: Enhanced regional cooperation and clear enlargement prospect for the region are vital to overcome challenges
20 Apr 2022

Brussels/Sarajevo – “The war in Ukraine will affect economic growth in the region. Although share of economic output directly tied to Russia and Ukraine is relatively small for the Western Balkans as a whole, the economic ties on essential sectors such as energy and agriculture ...

Imagine. Innovate. Create: RCC Launches Western Balkans Butterfly Innovation Award
31 Mar 2022

Sarajevo – The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) is launching a Regional Butterfly Innovation Award seeking innovative, scalable and market-based solutions from the Western Balkans. The Butterfly Innovation Award fund is set at 30,000 EUR, where the best solution in each of the 6 categories ...

Western Balkans: RCC to present ‘Women Who Launch – Regional Network of Women in Entrepreneurship’
08 Mar 2022

Sarajevo/Tirana – Instead of happy 8th of March, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) is announcing the launching of the Western Balkans (WB) Regional Network of Women in Entrepreneurship, at an event taking place this Friday (11 March) in Tirana. The Launch will gather a number of ...

Bregu: Western Balkans’ growth potential can be unlocked only through regional economic integration
20 Feb 2022

Munich – “European integration and transatlantic cooperation should not look decoupled in the Western Balkans (WB). It’s high time to put the process of EU accession of the WB into the spotlight before too late becomes a lifetime. This is the centre of gravity for the future ...

Bregu: In January 2022 RCC will launch the first regional Butterfly Innovation Award to encourage young innovators around the region
16 Dec 2021

Bregu: In January 2022 RCC will launch the first regional Butterfly Innovation Award to encourage young innovators around the region RCC hosts the first Western Balkans Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum Skopje/Sarajevo – “On average, only 1 or 2 out of 100 caterpillars ...

Bregu: It will take 257 years to close the current gender gap worldwide
14 Dec 2021

Sarajevo – “Women in the Western Balkans account for only 27.5% of business owners and just 14.2% of companies’ top managers are females. Despite an evolving ecosystem of start-ups and innovation hubs in the Western Balkans, the number of women start-up entrepreneurs remains ...

Bregu: The antidote to slowing down EU enlargement process is more ambitious integration of Western Balkans in the EU single market policies
15 Nov 2021

Brussels/Sarajevo: “European perspective of the Western Balkans is the drive that makes the process of cooperation beneficial to all in the long-term. I believe EU has all the leverage needed to keep the EU perspective in WB alive. Without a credible path to EU membership, the WB could ...

Bregu: European perspective of Western Balkans is the drive that makes the process of cooperation beneficial
15 Oct 2021

Sarajevo – “European perspective of Western Balkans is the drive that makes the process of cooperation beneficial to all in long-term. It is of highest importance that both the region and the EU deliver on the respective commitments – particularly when we take into account ...

Bregu proposes creation of ‘Digital Identity’ system for Western Balkan citizens, modelled on the EU one
13 Oct 2021

Podgorica – “We are racing to reach high standards of EU MS. Despite trying to run with the same speed as EU MS, we started our race later and hence we can never reach EU unless “phasing in” in EU policies is duly implemented,” said Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General ...

Digital Solutions: Six new ‘made in Western Balkans’ products presented at the 4th Digital Summit
12 Oct 2021

Sarajevo/Podgorica – Six new ‘made in Western Balkans’ digital products have been presented at the 4th WB Digital Summit in Podgorica today. Authors of the products connecting digital with organic food, agriculture, sales, health, transportation services, small businesses, ...

Bregu: It is crunch time to deliver on reducing roaming costs between the EU and Western Balkans
06 Oct 2021

Brdo pri Kranju/Sarajevo – “As the agendas of regional cooperation build in intensity and challenges get bigger, we witness daily that the process of cooperation among Western Balkan Six cannot afford a stalemate,” said Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretary General, ...

Bregu: RCC to launch regional coalition on jobs and skills to keep youth in the region
06 Sep 2021

Skopje – “There is still high interest of youngsters to stay in the region. And this is our advantage. They are our greatest asset. They are the engine driving regional cooperation and EU accession because they see the opportunities and they do not carry the historic baggage of ...

Regional Roaming Agreement is clear: Roaming charges in the Western Balkans are now ZERO
02 Jul 2021

The Regional Cooperation Council is pleased and happy that the roam like at home has entered into force in the Western Balkans as of 1 July. We take pride and are happy that this successful process we facilitated in eliminating barriers, borders, and tariff related to mobile traffic in the ...

Bregu: 71% of young people from Western Balkans would go live and work abroad – this is an alarm bell for us all
02 Jul 2021

Ohrid – “The prospect of potential EU membership has been a driving force during all these years, for all Western Balkan economies. According to the Balkan Barometer data, the support of Western Balkans citizens of the EU membership is steadily increasing. Compared to 2016, when ...

As of 1 July roaming in the Western Balkans will be 0 - Stay Charged, Roam Free
27 Jun 2021

Sarajevo – As of 1 July 2021 the entire Western Balkans will be a roaming free zone. Roaming costs between Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia will be zero. 

Bregu: People want and need to be connected in many ways and Roaming Free region is one of the ways enabling it
25 Jun 2021

Podgorica – “People want and need to be connected in many ways and Roaming Free region is one of the ways enabling it. Looking back three years ago, when the Western Balkan Leaders decided to lower the roaming prices within the region, no one had thought that we would have region ...

Bregu: 2020 was difficult, but a real progress and achievements have been made for development of our region
16 Jun 2021

Antalya – “Last year, ruled by the pandemic has definitely showcased the extent of our interconnectivity and interdependency and demonstrated that in cooperating, we boost our strengths and resilience. It is clear that regional socio-economic integration is crucial for regional ...

Bregu: The distance between the vision & plan for Common Regional Market calls for more resolute actions
10 Jun 2021

Tirana – “EU integration support in the Western Balkans continues to increase: this year it is backed up by 62% of citizens compared to 59% of last year. The support of our citizens and businesses of regional cooperation is even higher - 77% of citizens believe regional cooperation ...

Bregu: Common Regional Market is a rule of thumb, not a law of nature
08 Jun 2021

Sarajevo/Tirana – “Common Regional Market (CRM) is a rule of thumb, not a law of nature. It doesn’t apply to every single national vision a government or economy in the region has, nor to every kind of good or bad bilateral relations. It is a broaden-and-build plan, endorsed ...

Bregu: Congratulations to all Balkathon winners who showed young people of our region are innovative and creative
28 May 2021

Sarajevo/ Podgorica/Tirana – The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) presents winners of the second Western Balkans online competition for the best digital solutions, BALKATHON 2.0:

Bregu: Regional cooperation with clear, targeted goals and meeting deliverables is more urgent than ever
19 May 2021

Sarajevo/Tirana–“Regional cooperation with clear, targeted goals and meeting deliverables is more urgent than ever. Establishing a Common Regional Market which will attract investors, support real added value of industries, promote innovation, ensure digitalization and bring the ...

Bregu: Region’s efforts on the Common Regional Market reform agenda are widely recognized & supported
07 May 2021

RCC hosts the first Donor Coordination meeting on Common Regional Market   Sarajevo/Tirana – “Region’s efforts regarding the Common Regional Market (CRM) reform agenda are widely recognized and supported, including at the recent G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ ...

Bregu: Cooperative policies won’t happen unless they have domestic support at home and we commit ourselves to meeting what was promised
04 May 2021

Roaming free Western Balkans Six as of 1 July: Stay Charged, Roam Free!  “1.4 million people in the Western Balkans are registered as unemployed. Out of that number, 760,000 are women, while 173,000 are young people. There are 1 million more men working in the Western Balkans ...

Bregu: Men outnumber women in the region’s labour force by more than a million
15 Apr 2021

Sarajevo/New York – The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched today the Regional Network of Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as part of a RCC-UNDP joint initiative on Women Economic Empowerment ...

Bregu, Grlic-Radman discuss South East Europe Strategy 2030 and Green Lanes between EU and WB
14 Apr 2021

Sarajevo – The Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Majlinda Bregu, welcomed the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, Gordan Grlić-Radman, at the organisation’s headquarters in Sarajevo today. 

Western Balkans endorses Tirana Declaration to Support Tourism in the Region
08 Apr 2021

Sarajevo/Tirana – Ministers and representatives of the six Western Balkans (WB) governments endorsed the Tirana Declaration on supporting sustainable tourism recovery and growth in the region, at the high-level regional conference marking the finalisation of the Regional Cooperation Council ...

Bregu: 69% of Western Balkans businesses believe quality of regional cooperation is important for quality of their business
17 Mar 2021

Sarajevo – The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) hosted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, in its Sarajevo headquarters today, where he met with the RCC delegation led by the organisation’s Secretary General, Majlinda Bregu, discussing the regional cooperation ...

Bregu: 77% of Western Balkans citizens agree that the relations in the region are better than a year ago
11 Mar 2021

Sarajevo/Tirana – “The months since our last meeting in October have been difficult with the onset of new Covid-19 waves and new variants of the virus turning things topsy-turvy with a downward spiralling. In terms of regional cooperation, the big good news was the success of the ...

Bregu: Futourismo is a new hope to help our region recover its tourism
02 Mar 2021

Tirana/Sarajevo – Seven teams from the Western Balkans: •    Guidi for app Veni, Vidi, Guidi  •    BIB for 'Be in Balkan' Mobile Application,  •    Digital Clinic for e-Health Tourism •   ...

RCC, CEF reinforce cooperation to support region’s European Integration
25 Feb 2021

Secretary General Bregu and Director Repansek sign Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations Ljubljana/Tirana/Sarajevo – Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Majlinda Bregu,and Director of the Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF), Jana ...

Bregu: We must change in order to provide healthier environment, cleaner air, to preserve fresh and drinking water, to survive
18 Dec 2020

Sarajevo/Tirana - "The overwhelming 74% of Western Balkans (WB) citizens see pollution as a problem, which is not surprising, considering that this region holds the most polluted cities in the world, because 70% of our electricity is produced by burning coal. Not only this, 16 thermal ...

Bregu: Hire women, promote women and invest in women - that is our future
11 Dec 2020

Sarajevo/Tirana/New York - "What we are launching today is a platform which will allow us all to strategise on how to best contribute to unlocking women power in the region. The reasons are obvious. Prior to pandemic, almost two-thirds of working-age women in the Western Balkans were either ...

Bregu: ‘Regional cooperation’ and ‘regional integration’ are the two sides of the same coin
07 Dec 2020

Brussels/Sarajevo - "‘Regional cooperation’ and ‘regional integration’ are the two sides of the same coin. Integrating markets might be more of a process of EU integration. But regional cooperation is more than integrating markets. It is a political process. That ...

Bregu: Transformation will not happen overnight but setting bold goals will accelerate the change if we can work together
10 Nov 2020

Sofia - A new phase of regional economic integration started today with the Western Balkans Six leaders endorsing the Common Regional Market Action Plan, and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, both facilitated by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), at the Berlin Process Summit held ...

Bregu: Western Balkan governments will have to shoulder responsibility to implement Common Regional Market
09 Nov 2020

Sofia - “Tomorrow the six Western Balkan leaders will endorse the new Action Plan for this region - Common Regional Market. Common Regional Market is not a novelty from the scratch: It is a great plan based on four freedoms, the same as EU Single Market, strengthened with investment, ...

Bregu: While EU and the world are advancing to fit to the Digital Age, we need to run twice as fast to close the discrepancies
02 Nov 2020

Tirana/Sarajevo – “At the last years' Digital Summit in Belgrade we witnessed a success story when the ministers of the Western Balkans (WB) six in charge of information and communication technologies signed the new Regional Roaming Agreement, paving a way for roaming free WB ...

Bregu: We now pay between 83% and 96% less roaming charges in the entire Western Balkans, and as of July 2021 roaming costs will be 0
26 Oct 2020

Tirana/Sarajevo – The Third Western Balkans Digital Summit (WBDS) has been opened in Tirana today, continuing its legacy, which started at the WBDS Skopje in 2018 – the first ever WB DS that initiated digital policy dialogue on WB digital transformation at the highest prime ministers ...

Bregu: Common Regional Market is a stepping stone for the Western Balkans to align with EU single market rules
22 Oct 2020

Belgrade/Sarajevo – “Some estimates say that regional economic integration in the Western Balkans could generate up to 2.5% of GDP growth should the level of integration reach the level of EFTA, and should it reach the EU level of integration, it could generate 6.7% of GDP growth. ...

Bregu: The region needs common market to ensure free movement of business people, drivers and citizens in the Western Balkans
16 Oct 2020

Sarajevo/Tirana/Skopje - “We are not a perfect region, but we want to make the best out of an imperfect picture. As a first step from today the Regional Cooperation Council is proud to facilitate an all-inclusive regional agreement on movement with ID cards. Our commercial and trade relations ...

Bregu: Common Regional Market is the way forward
15 Oct 2020

Sarajevo, Tirana - “Multi Annual Action Plan for Regional Economic Area (MAP REA) is in its final stage of implementation. Now it’s clear that the region has benefited from this regional frame but is also ready for an upgrade. We have the Regional Roaming Agreement, Regional Investment ...

Bregu: Economic integration among the Western Balkans 6, and with the EU, is the most important in this moment
01 Oct 2020

Tirana/Sarajevo – “I believe that closer relations in the process of European integration of the region, especially economic integration among the Western Balkans (WB) 6, and with the EU, are the most important in this moment. Because regional economic integration of the WB is not ...

Bregu: With joint border crossing points Western Balkans could save 800 mil euro a year – we should set them among WB but also with EU
22 Sep 2020

Sarajevo/Skopje/Belgrade – “If we would have more joint border crossing points and if those would be working 24/7, with all the regulation in place, phytosanitary proc