2nd Balkan Forum Closure

Sep 28, 2020

The 2nd Balkan Forum ended  with great success. 
In the context of the 3rd session dedicated to European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (Interreg) the following issues were discussed :
Mr George Zervos, Special Secretary for European Regional Development Fund, Ministry of Development & Investments, Greece, pointed out that Mr. Zervos noted that the funds for "Interreg" programs have been reduced, though he noted the importance of making better use of such programs to harmonize their objectives with projects of wider importance proposed by the European Commission for the next seven years. 
Dr. Ioannis Bakouros, University of Western Macedonia, Regional Development and Cross Border Studies, Greece highlighted the necessity to create opportunities and to develop jobs that will keep the university graduates in the area.

Ms Zulieta Gjurkova, Head, Centre for development of the South-East planning region, Republic of North Macedonia presented some of the best practices materialised in the area and stressed that the next priority will be the support of small and medium enterprises that have been affected by the coronavirus, as well as the strengthening of cooperation, between countries in the BalkanMed region.

Mr George Emmanuel, General Director, Ministry of Interior Sector Macedonia and Thrace, Greece recalled that the EU Commission wants to increase funding for "green" and digital reform and stressed that the Balkans, with its rich natural environment and traditional products, with its cultural heritage protected by international contracts may play a role in claiming funding programmes. More specifically, he cited as an example the importance of the Balkan-Med programme and added: "We believe that there must be continuity in the period 2021-27 of this programme, any other scenario will be a loss for the region."

Ms Sanda Simic, Head of Division, Ministry of European Integration, Government of the Republic of Serbia pointed out the importance of the cooperation between the countries in Balkans 
Mr Lodovico Gherardi, Coordinator of the Managing Authority Unit, Italy  stressed the importance of using the experience of the cross-border programs of the previous period to move on to the next.

The Forum ended with the closing speech of Theodoros Karaoglou, Deputy Minister of Interior Sector Macedonia and Thrace who pointed out that “The Balkans can be a model of harmonic living, equal and balanced growth