First Meeting of the European Integration (EUI) Programming Board held in Žabljak, Montenegro
22-23 July 2014, the Regional School of Public Administration and the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro organized the first Meeting of the European Integration (EUI) Programming
Board in Žabljak, Montenegro.
The Meeting was officially
opened by the State Secretary for European
Integration and Chief Negotiator Ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, the
Director of Directorate D, DG Enlargement, Mr. Gerhard Schumann-Hitzler and ReSPA
Director Mr. Suad Music. The meeting gathered high officials from the relevant
central EUI coordination institutions of the Western Balkans (ReSPA members and
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Pejović expressed his appreciation that Montenegro is hosting the first meeting of this body and noted that all regional countries have the same commitments and challenges on their EU paths, which direct them towards closer cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experience. In that context, the Chief Negotiator underlined the importance of Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) as a regional cooperation mechanism aimed at developing skills and competences and strengthening administrative capacities for meeting EU commitments.
From the side of the European Commission, Mr. Schumann-Hitzler emphasized that the new approach to the EU integration process of the Western Balkans is to put focus on “fundamentals first”, recognizing Public Administration Reform as an essential pillar of the EU integration process. Having this in mind, as well as the fact that regional cooperation is an essential mean of preparation for EU membership, ReSPA, as a regionally owned institution, needs to be fully integrated in the EUI process of the Western Balkans.
On behalf of ReSPA, Mr. Music welcomed the establishment of the EUI Programming Board as a result of a very extensive consultative process with the regional stakeholders and expressed his conviction that the work of this body will bring a new dimension and perspective to regional cooperation in general, as well as to ReSPA activities and program.
The first meeting of the EUI Programming Board was devoted to the discussion on the body’s main tasks and regional cooperation platforms that will enable it to work efficiently and without hindrance. In that context, the participants exchanged views on how to improve information exchange and cooperation in the fields of PAR and EUI, and especially between their own EU integration institutions.
The participants exchanged opinions on the current situation and future needs ensuing from the EU integration processes. Along those lines, they identified priority areas and gave recommendations for the ReSPA Program of Work 2015. The meeting also provided an opportunity to the present high officials from the relevant central EUI coordination institutions to exchange best practices, consult and discuss most pressing issues on their work agendas.
The meeting adopted the rules of procedure of the Programming Board, whose main task it is to provide counsel to the ReSPA Secretariat and Governing Board in relation to future EU integration-related activities. Whereas the primary purpose of the EUI Programming Board is to advise ReSPA in mapping out pressing common issues pertinent to the EUI, its establishment will also significantly contribute to further strategic positioning of ReSPA as the key regional development institution.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and ICJ Advisory opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of independence