Promoting EU integration in the Western Balkans

Project description

Title: Promotion of EU Integration in South-East Europe
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Countries: EU accession countries in the Western Balkans​​​​​​​
Lead executing agency: Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2012 to 2023

Participants in the Hvar Summer School standing on steps outdoors © GIZ

Context

The countries of the Western Balkans have made European Union (EU) membership their top political priority. Although they have made varying levels of progress in the accession process, they all face common challenges.

The European Commission has declared regional cooperation in the Western Balkans to be one of the most important prerequisites for EU accession. While considerable progress has been made in many areas, the responsible authorities still need to build up important competencies. This applies in particular to the coordination and improvement of the EU accession process through regional learning and the application of best practices.

Objective

Regional cooperation among the Western Balkan countries in the EU accession process has been consolidated in selected fields of activity, such as the commitment to taking a common path to joining the EU and the new procedure for EU accession negotiations.

Participants in the Network of Ministries of Foreign Affairs sitting together at a conference table  © GIZ

Approach

The project coordinates, advises and supports four regional networks: the Network of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, of the EU integration authorities, of National Instrument-for-Pre-Accession Coordinators, and Parliamentary Committee Secretariats responsible for EU Integration. Representatives of the national institutions of all Western Balkan countries meet in these networks to discuss and make decisions on EU-related topics and project measures.

The project supports the joint planning and use of pre-accession assistance, which is an EU financial instrument to enable reforms. It also promotes the discussion of common challenges in the EU enlargement process and facilitates the development of joint positions in order to foster regional cooperation and improve dialogue on reform priorities. Gender equality is a priority topic in all four networks.

Last update: September 2022

Additional information