A two day conference held in Athens, Greece outlined the opportunities for cooperation with the Western Balkans under Erasmus+, the EU's new education, training, youth and sport programme.
The regional conference was held on 17-18 January by the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training, which is chaired by Jan Truszczyński, Director-General of DG Education and Culture, and is the EU's initiative for policy dialogue and cooperation on education with South Eastern Europe. About 250 stakeholders from the Western Balkans attended the event, representing the higher education, school and youth sectors.
During the conference, participants were provided with practical information on capacity-building projects and mobility at the higher education level, electronic twinning of schools in primary and secondary school level and support to youth activities, all of which are available to the Western Balkan countries. In addition, the event provided space for participants from the region to present their previous experiences in EU projects and to begin mapping out their future involvement in the 2014-2020 trajectory.
It was also an opportunity to touch upon the progress of the Western Balkan countries in the EU enlargement process and to encourage each of them to continue on the path towards EU integration. It was emphasised that on this road, education and training represent the first and fundamental steps for citizens of the Western Balkans to participate actively with their regional and EU counterparts in improving the capacity of their human resources and ultimately their competitiveness.
The conference was web-streamed so that interested individuals who did not attend had the opportunity to follow it and pose comments and questions. The video will be posted on the webpage of the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training.