The 2017 Western Balkans Summit took place in Trieste, Italy, on 12th July 2017, where the Heads of Government, Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Economy and Ministers of Transport of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo* and Serbia) together with their counterparts from several EU Member States (Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia) and high-level EU representatives discussed key areas of regional cooperation, and set out concrete measures to better connect the region’s infrastructures, economies and people. The summit was part of the “Berlin process”, an initiative for stronger regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. All participants also expressed great satisfaction with the prospect of further high level events in the region itself.
The Trieste Summit offered the opportunity to build on the achievements of previous Summits – Berlin (28 August 2014), Vienna (27 August 2015), Paris (4 July 2016) – and to progress further in several areas of cooperation, in particular in the connectivity agenda, which is and will remain the core element of the process, and in the regional integration process. The Summit recalled the need to provide appropriate responses to global challenges and confirmed the importance of strengthening reforms on the rule of law, fundamental rights, economic development and competitiveness in order to deliver results to citizens.
In addition, as a part of the Multiannual Action Plan accompanying the Conclusions of the Summit, the measures enabling higher mobility in the region are supported. This includes solving existing regional issues regarding the recognition of professional and higher education qualifications, for the purpose of employment and continuing education respectively. The supported activities are to be tackled in cooperation of relevant partners (among others, RCC, CEFTA, ERI SEE ENIC NARIC offices, higher education institutions) and stakeholders, which is the for their realization.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
For more information please visit: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/international/news/2017-07-12-western-balkans-summit-2017-delivering-region_en