Western Balkan countries to be part of the European Union through digital transformation

Apr 18, 2018 | Press Release

At a joint press conference, Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damjan Manchevski, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, and Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Goran Svilanović, pointed out the significance of the first Digital Summit held in Skopje.

“Western Balkans Digital Summit 6” is a confirmation that we all work to achieving a single goal. For us, the Western Balkans is part of the European Union, while the digital transformation will help us succeed in intensifying the cooperation. Digital transformation changes our lives, something that has been recognized by the politicians as well. Under the recent Enlargement Strategy for the Western Balkan Countries, digitalization is placed high on the political agenda. We have important projects before us, such as reduction of roaming prices and cyber security”, Commissioner Gabriel pointed out.

“Digital transformation is indispensable so as to improve the quality of life of the citizens”, RCC Secretary General Svilanović said. He underlined that benefits from digitalization are felt in all aspect of life, including corruption reduction.

“This is a chance for the Western Balkans to be part of the EU, regardless of the political agenda. This event is a rare opportunity to define the common goals”, Svilanović said.

Minister Manchevski, as host of the Digital Summit, talked about the message sent by organizing this event.

“We, all Balkan countries, are finally together, putting joint efforts to make more for our citizens. Despite all political issues, despite all historical challenges, we are all together today, as we will get together again in a month time in Sofia, then in London, to affirm that the Wester Balkan countries are united in the digital transformation, as well as that we have the will, the dedication and the cooperation to jointly accept the change. This is a historical opportunity for the Western Balkans to be an example. A good example. Not as for the way we were recognized in the past. We are already working together”, Minister Manchevski pointed out.

“My expectations of this Summit are big. I expect many good news for our citizens. I expect for the roaming prices in the region and with the EU to be drastically reduced. I expect to agree on a joint approach in improving the access to broadband Internet. I expect for the Western Balkans to be the next ICT world destination. I expect for our young people to be leaders in advancing the digital skills and to stay in their native countries. I expect to mutually recognize the digital certificates. I expect for the Balkan to be digitally integrated in the EU, much faster than politically. But, not only I expect, but also sincerely believe that this will be attained”, Minister Manchevski said, wishing the participants a productive Digital Summit.

“Western Balkans Digital Summit 6” is part of the Berlin Process and it is aimed at regional coordination for EU accession of the region. Digital integration component envisages that the “Western Balkans Digital Summit 6” should be organized once a year, whereby it is of great significance for Macedonia as the country to be the first host of the Summit.