News archive - Steering Platform Meeting in Thessaloniki adopted Guidelines

One of the important aspects of the agenda of the Steering Platform Meeting in Thessaloniki (Greece) on October 29, 2007 was the adoption of Guidelines for the work of the Platform. Discussions among all members and taking into account the upcoming WBC-INCO.NET project, a set of Guidelines have been adopted.
The full version can be downloaded from

In these guidelines, the mission statement is updated (see also
And the scope of the Platform is further detailed as follows:


In the context of the Communication “The EU and the Western Balkans: strengthening stability and prosperity” (Com (2006) 27 final of 27.1.2006) of the European Commission, and as a follow-up to the EU-Balkan Countries Action Plan on S&T adopted at the Ministerial Conference in Thessaloniki in 2003 and endorsed by Ministers at the General Affairs Council in March 2006, the Steering Platform (“the Platform”) plays a central role in stimulating, monitoring, and supporting the cooperation in research and technological development between the countries of the European Union (EU 27), associated countries to the Seventh European Framework Programme for RTD (FP7) and countries of the Western Balkans (WBCs).
The Western Balkan countries’ Ministries responsible for Science and Technology fully endorse this initiative of the European Commission, considering it a Forum of utmost importance for the accession and integration of the WBCs to the European Research Area.

Mission Statement

The Platform facilitates the interaction between the Western Balkan countries, the EU Member States, the candidate and potential candidate countries and other states associated to the Framework Programmes for RTD and the European Commission. Its main objective is to support the enhanced integration of the WBCs in the European Research Area. It is a strategic body to deal with European, multilateral and regional issues of Science and Technology policies in and with the WBCs. It acts as an information exchange centre, clearing house for joint ideas and activities, and coordination forum for needs, suggestions and proposals of the WBCs to the European Commission, the EU27, candidate and potential candidate countries and the countries associated to FP7 (AC) and vice versa. In this spirit, the Platform continues and intensifies the progress achieved under the EU-Balkan Countries Action Plan on Science and Technology.
(Information Office of the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkan Countries (


The Platform shall continue until the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU.

Scope of the Platform

With a view to promoting the implementation and development of European research cooperation and thereby also supporting the technological and economic development in the Western Balkan Countries, the Platform will:

  • Act as a forum for exchanging information and views, elaborating recommendations on the RTD policy and coordinating needs, suggestions and proposals in and towards the WBCs, especially regarding the Framework Programme;
  • Monitor RTD policies and developments including interactions with innovation and higher education, and intervene with specific recommendations, if deemed necessary;
  • Propose concrete actions to be taken in the context of furthering the EU-WBC cooperation on RTD and the bi- and multilateral cooperation activities;
  • Identify issues of mutual importance to be addressed in the context of the Platform;
  • Seek synergies with other instruments, organisations and stakeholders to strengthen the research capacity in the Western Balkan countries.

The procedural guidelines foresees some general provisions such as meetings twice a year, operation on consensus, use of English language, etc.


Members are the EU Member States, the Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries, the Countries associated to the 7th European Framework Programme (FP7) and the European Commission.
Nomination of delegates is made by the governments of the member states of the Steering Platform. The level of participation should be up to the governments. Government should nominate two persons committed to WBC issues (participation should depend on the agenda). The European Commission will be represented by a senior official from the Service responsible for international scientific cooperation between EU and WB countries. Other involved services of the European Commission will be associated where appropriate to the Commission’s delegation.

In addition to the members the Steering Platform is open, ex officio, to the participation of
- a representative of the Information Office of the Platform / WBC-INCO.NET;
- and the Coordinator of the South-East European ERA-NET (SEE-ERA.NET).

The Steering Platform is also open to the participation upon invitation of the chairs of:
- Representatives from other organisations and stakeholders:
- Experts on a case-by-case basis.
Each member’s delegation may be accompanied by experts.

The Platform should have in principle three Co-Chairs, the European Commission, one representing EU Presidency, another one from a Western Balkan country. In general, invitations will be issued by the hosting country in cooperation with the other co-chairs. The WBC Co-Chair will be nominated from the Western Balkan countries. Once designated, he/she should act in the general interest of the Platform and no longer as a country representative.

The task of the Co-Chairs is to co-prepare and conduct meetings and act as a moderator(s) for the discussions.
The Co-Chairs will call the meetings at least one month in advance.

Information and Reporting

The WBC-INCO.NET will provide extensively support in acting as a service platform and an operational arm of the Steering Platform.


The Platform shall meet twice a year, preferably every 6 months. The dates and venue of meetings shall be set by the Platform at its preceding meeting (taking into account the WBC-INCO.NET logistics). The Platform may decide to convene additional ad hoc meetings whenever needed.

Meetings shall be typically hosted by the EU Presidency or a Western Balkan country, back to back to WBC-INCO.NET Steering Board meetings until this project will expire in 2011.


The Agenda shall be proposed by the Co-Chairs. Any member/participant of the Platform may propose items for the agenda.
The draft Agenda and any document related to a meeting of the Platform shall be sent to the members at least 2 weeks in advance.
The Agenda shall be approved by the Platform at the beginning of each meeting.


The minutes will be drafted in the framework of the WBC-INCO.NET project and proposed by the Co-Chairs. They shall summarise the discussions held and the conclusions, and shall list all proposals made as well as report shortly on previous activities and the implementation of proposals still relevant.
All members of the Platform will have the right to give feedback on the draft minutes within 2 weeks of receipt.

Cost of meeting

The Platform has no budget.
The members are responsible for meeting their travel and subsistence expenses of their delegates and their experts participating in a meeting of the Platform.
Local organisational costs shall generally be covered by the host country.

Adopted at 3rd Steering Platform Meeting in Thessaloniki.

Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans

Entry created by Elke Dall on October 31, 2007
Modified on October 31, 2007