25.11.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

Preparing for the upcoming Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkan countries

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The Western Balkan Countries INCO-NET platform enhances integration of the Western Balkan countries (WBC) in the European Research Area. The project WBC-INCO.NET is supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (2007-2013). Mario Scalet, head of the Science unit of the UNESCO Venice Office, will be participating as member of the Steering Platform on Research for Western Balkan Countries in the upcoming December Sarajevo meeting announced by the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, the Polish Presidency and Bosnia and Herzegovina as co-chair from the region.

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.

Every 6 months, high level political dialogue meetings are organised linking the EU Member States, Associated Countries and the Western Balkan countries. The meetings are co-chaired by the European Commission, the EU Council presidency country (currently Poland) and a country from the region (for the upcoming meeting: Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The 11th Steering Platform meeting on Research for the Western Balkan countries will take place on 1 December 2011 in Sarajevo and will bring together RTDI stakeholders from all over Europe. Discussions will centre on the integration of the region to the Innovation Union and the development of programmes in the new financial period 2014-2020. The Western Balkan countries are associated to the 7th EU Framework Programme and participate actively in the preparation of the next programme period.

Website : www.wbc-inco.net

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