The panel discussion was held in Brussels, on 30th of January 2019 at the RCC Liaison office and brought together representatives of European Union institutions, diplomatic missions, think tanks, business and non-governmental organizations.
In her keynote address, Majlinda Bregu, RCC Secretary General, referred to the findings of the FES study underlining the importance of creating incentives for domestic ownership over reforms in WB6 countries.
One of the points highlighted during the discussions was that sustainable development had to rely on tailor-made solutions reflecting the local context rather than “one-size-fits-all” models, at least if socioeconomic development of the region was to be inclusive and measurable. As per the findings of the publication, some positive economic trends appear evident in the region. However, these alone could not resolve existing socioeconomic challenges. Participant agreed that a possible solution lied in the idea of inclusive growth.
One common point of departure was the idea that, in whatever way designed, development reforms and processes needed to account for potential costs in social cohesion, as individual countries’ social protection systems might not be strong enough to withstand pressures from one-dimensional development policies.
Impediments that the Western Balkan countries are currently facing presented a constraint of their development, and the key might be in targeting a model of growth that would be balanced in terms of social, economic and ecological aspects. Utilizing and further intensifying regional cooperation could be beneficial in this regard with the renewed enlargement policies of the European Union if enacted as significant means to increase cohesion between Central and West European states and Southeast Europe.
The Regional Cooperation Council expressed its commitment to provide the necessary support to realize the integrative potential of the region.
The publication and its policy recommendations are available here.