Six Western Balkan Ministers responsible for science and research participated in the Seventh Ministerial Meeting on Research and Innovation in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas.
In his opening remarks, Commissioner Moedas said that the region’s political will to improve the area of research and innovation was clearly recognised, and he welcomed the increased participation of Western Balkan countries in the EU’s largest Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020.
The Commissioner particularly stressed the need to strengthen regional cooperation in the context of creating attractive opportunities that will attract talented people and keep them in the region. In this sense, he pointed out the importance of establishing centres that simultaneously connect the region, promote basic research, stimulate innovation, respond to global challenges, provide new jobs, attract talent and, ultimately, contribute to the economic development of the region.
Welcoming the active participation and commitment of the Western Balkan countries to research and innovation, with special emphasis on the segment of internationalisation, Commissioner Moedas also pointed to an increasingly mature approach to science in the region. He confirmed that the European Commission is ready to actively support the participation of the Western Balkan countries in the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
Following the address of Commissioner Moedas, a panel was held where ministers presented key national priorities in science, as well as activities to improve innovation. The chairperson of the SEEIIST Dr.Sanja Damjanovic had the opportunity to present South-East Europe International Institute for Sustainable Technologies (SEEIIST) project. The Institute has once again received the support of all countries participating in the meeting.
Director-General for Research and Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet welcomed reforms of the Western Balkan countries in the field of research and innovation, as well as their efforts to strengthen investment in this area.