The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) launched on 24 June the fifth edition of the Balkan Barometer. The virtual launch event organized by the RCC included keynotes from Commissioner for Enlargement Mr. Oliver Varhely and H.E Ambassador Prof. Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference and interventions from a number of high level representatives from the region.
The 2020 edition measures the progress achieved by the Western Balkans economies in advancing the regional cooperation, European integration and transformation agenda. The Barometer is an inclusive perception-based survey which examined the attitudes and aspirations both of citizens and businesses across the Western Balkan economies. It has become a reliable source of regional data widely employed and referenced by media, business, civil society and decision makers alike.
The results showed a strong commitment toward EU accession - 59% - with a significant growth of more than 10% in support from civil society of from the previous edition. Trust in European institutions increased following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In H.E Ambassador Prof. Wolfgang Ischinger words: “the lesson that we are learning is that each one of us is going to be safe once all of us are going to be safe. This is what I call the European imperative. The idea of Europe, of integration, is going to take a boost from this global crisis. Our future is Europe, we cannot ignore our geography”.
The willingness for continuous cooperation was echoed by all the speakers, as also stated by Nikola Dimitrov - Minister of Foreign affairs of North Macedonia: “March was a historic month. European Commission welcomed the Council's decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia …The process is to evolve the democracies of the Western Balkans into functional and vibrant democracies. It is important that this green light mean the ignition of negotiation talks. And we will continue to do what necessary”.
As declared by Mr. Oliver Varhely: “This cooperation will be essential to develop a new vision. We need to continue working together intensively to speed up the economic recovery, to advance the reforms and increase business confidence”.
See the full webinar
- Publication date
- 26 June 2020
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation