The Western Balkan Six – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – pledged to increase their support for research, innovation, education, training and culture at the Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platforms on Education and Training & Research and Innovation in the presence of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and top EU and other high level officials on Wednesday 2 December. They expressed their firm backing for the proposed ‘Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport’, a positive and forward-looking vision for all.
Ministers of research, innovation, education and culture from the Western Balkans took part in the meeting where they exchanged views and experiences. All of them committed to increasing their support for these sectors, and backed the various EU programmes aimed at improving cross-border cooperation in these fields.
Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said
“The Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport’ should provide opportunities to students, researchers, innovators and cultural operators so that they access new markets, become more competitive and build sustainable prosperity. A deep innovation agenda will be essential for enhancing human capital development as well as the development of a sustainable innovation ecosystem.”
She also added that investment in education, innovation and research would unlock talents in the region, which would be invaluable for the green and digital transitions across the whole of Europe.
The Ministerial meeting is a forum of exchange between Western Balkans ministers, the European Commission and EU Member States. It gathers ministers responsible for Innovation, Research, Education and Culture from the Western Balkans.
The Western Balkan partners have increased their participation in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ in recent years, and are currently aiming at associating with Horizon Europe. They also all have strong cooperation potential in research and innovation systems. This is crucial, as the integration of the Western Balkan national research and innovation frameworks into the European Research Area is a necessary step for EU accession.
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