On September 24, 2020, Western Balkan Ministers and high level panelists from the region took part in the European Research and Innovation Days to discuss the region’s priorities in research and innovation.
The session focused on how association to Horizon Europe triggers changes in the R&I ecosystem bringing about wider reforms in the countries, such as evidence-based decision making and governance, digitalization, alignment with norms, creation of effective economic ties and supporting the region towards its European path.
In her opening address Commissioner Gabriel stressed the region’s strategic priority for the EU. She highlighted the commitment of all her portfolio Directorate Generals, in close cooperation with DG NEAR’s Western Balkans Economic and Investment Plan to strengthen the resilience of the region and ensure the right support to boost the R&I capacity of the region and local talents to thrive.
The EC is ready to engage with the region towards a forward looking Western Balkans Agenda on research, innovation, education, culture, youth and sports. This Agenda is expected to set out a new narrative for the region providing a positive and forward-looking vision for all citizens, and youth in particular.
The regional approach was strongly supported by all the panelists. “Western Balkans should be considered as one region when considering economic development” said Ms Florensa Haxhi, Director for Development Programs & Program Manager for Regional Economic Area, Prime Minister's Office of Albania.
There are high expectations from Horizon Europe in the region. More “support for bottom up initiatives such as the regional innovation fund is expected” was stated by Mr Jovan Despotovski from North Macedonia’s Innovation Fund, as well as “there is need for a regional agenda for smart specialization and stronger connections between science and society” highlighted Mr Viktor Nedovic, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Serbia.
‘Association to H2020 is instrumental for smooth cooperation and funding of joint projects in the region’, concluded Minister Sanja Damjanovic, the moderator of this session.
- Ms Florensa Haxhi, Director for Development Programs & Program Manager for Regional Economic Area, Prime Minister's Office, Albania
- Mr Jovan Despotovski, Director, Fund for Innovation and Technology Development, North Macedonia
- Prof. Dr.Viktor Nedovic, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Serbia
- Mr Martin Kern, Director, European Institute of Innovation and Technology
- Prof. Dr. Atanas Kochov, Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in North Macedonia, JRC Board Member
- Publication date
- 28 September 2020
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation