News archive - Commission strives to enhance European perspective for Western Balkans

The report ‘EU regionally relevant activities in the Western Balkans 2008/09’ published by the European Commission, addresses the main improvements and initiatives supporting the political and economic developments in the countries of the Western Balkans. 

In the field of higher education and research, scholarships for WBC students have been doubled. The 7th. Framework Programme is expected to further improve the cooperation between scientific and educational institutes.

"I welcome the progress achieved in the countries of the Western Balkans during the past year. I am proud that the EU contributed with concrete means to this success,” said Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. He underlined the importance of the possibilities to study abroad and free travel for the people’s every day life. “I am looking forward to seeing further progress, as 2009 will be an important year for the EU integration of the Western Balkans," commented Rehn.

In the case of the scholarships for students from all Western Balkan countries, the Commission doubled the number and increased the budget by the sum of €20 million, which will enable more students to benefit from the experience of studying in the EU. Newly opened programmes, for example the ‘7th Research Framework programme’, in which all countries of the region are now participating, will improve the cooperation between scientific and educational institutions as well.

Moreover the Regional Cooperation Council, enhances the developments on the field of regional assistance, for instance through the transformation of the ‘Regional School of Public Administration’ (ReSPA) into a fully fledged school with a seat in Danilovgrad (Montenegro).

As a sign of EU’s solidarity with the region, the Commission decided to extend the Economic Recovery Plan for the Western Balkans regarding the issue of the global economic crisis; at least €120 million IPA funds will be allocated.

Source:, as accessed on February 3, 2009.

Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on February 12, 2009
Modified on February 12, 2009