Podgorica, 25 June 2021
Dear Ministers, dear Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to address you today to mark one of the biggest milestones and achievements of the regional cooperation agenda in the Western Balkans.
We have said it many times, but it bears repeating – the signing of the Regional Roaming Agreement, and the introduction of the Roam Like at Home (RLAH) regime are prime examples of what is possible when the region joins efforts.
I am convinced that we will see many more joint achievements in the next years. The Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans and the Common Regional Market - our operational blueprints for the digital transformation of the Western Balkans – are showing the way forward.
Such milestones are not only relevant on the path of digital transformation. Digitalisation is also an enabler – of connectivity, of innovation, of a green and sustainable economy, and of an inclusive society that addresses the needs of its citizens and businesses alike. It helps us overcome borders, barriers and lockdowns.
That is exactly what Roam Like at Home will do too – while benefiting consumers and operators, it will provide for seamless connectivity within the region. It will bring visible and clear benefits of the regional agenda to all citizens. In the EU, a year after the introduction of the Roam Like at Home, 80% of 15 to 24 year olds acknowledged the benefits it brought – who better to have as ambassadors of the digital transformation!
Our next project is to move towards the lowering of the roaming charges between the EU and the Western Balkans. First meetings to start the work on it have already been scheduled.
More broadly, we also need to implement the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. The roll-out of the digital infrastructure flagship is a concrete way to start, and we will do the utmost to accelerate it. It will improve access to digital goods and services, and create a level playing field that will maximise the growth potential of the digital economy.
We’ve got a plan of action – now let’s join efforts and start working together towards the next milestone!