Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia signed today, alongside Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, their Association Agreements to the Horizon Europe programme. Albania is expected to follow with the association in the upcoming weeks. This marks an important milestone for closer research and innovation cooperation with the Western Balkans.
Researchers, innovators and research entities established in the region can now fully participate in the EU’s €95.5 billion programme on equal terms with entities from the EU Members States. This will allow them to develop projects, technologies and conduct research and activities that will contribute to tackling global challenges. Their participation will also further reinforce their capacities and support Western Balkans further integration into the European Research Area.
Commissioner Gabriel said:
I welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia to Horizon Europe. We can attract investment, develop human capital, support start-ups and create the necessary conditions for growth by working together. The implementation of the Western Balkans Agenda and participation in Horizon Europe will have a great impact in the region and in Europe overall.
The associations support the ’Global Approach to Research and Innovation’ and reconfirms Europe's commitment to a level of global openness needed to drive excellence, pool resources for faster scientific progress and develop vibrant innovation ecosystems.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia have been already fully associated to the previous EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. Western Balkan partners received €170 million in direct EU contribution, with approximately 1000 organisations having participated. Kosovo is a newcomer to the programme.
Multiple success stories arose, including ANTARES (2017-2024), a project developing smart sensors and big data technologies that could help farmers produces more food in a way that is sustainable for society, farm incomes and the environment; CROSSBOW(2017-2022), which proposes a shared use of resources to foster cross-border management of variable renewable energies and storage units; and ROCK (2017-2020), a project that aims to develop an innovative, collaborative and circular systemic approach for regeneration and adaptive reuse of historic city centres.
The ‘Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport’ is a comprehensive, long-term cooperation strategy of the European Union and the Western Balkans. It promotes scientific excellence as well as reform of the region’s education systems, create further opportunities for the youth, and help prevent brain drain.
- Publication date
- 6 December 2021
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation