[Event Review] Workshop on Western Balkans European Research Area (ERA) reporting, 5 June 2024 -Skopje

On the occasion of the recent publication of the European Commission’s ERA Country Reports, a workshop on the Western Balkans European Research Area reporting was held by the POLICY ANSWERS project on 5 June 2024 in Skopje as part of the Research and Innovation Steering Platform meeting.

The workshop included a technical session on “ERA Reporting along the ERA Policy Agenda”, a session where two focus groups discussed how to approach Western Balkans challenges with regard to ERA integration and a session on “Strengthening R&I Capacity in the Western Balkans through Knowledge valorisation”. The target group of the workshop were Western Balkans policy makers who participated on-site.

In addition to providing general information about the ERA Policy Platform, the ERA Monitoring Mechanism and the ERA Policy Agenda presented by the European Commission, the POLICY ANSWERS project introduced its approach to support the drafting process of the Western Balkans ERA Country Reports.

While coping with the challenges of the Western Balkans ERA integration, it has been highlighted by the participants that business-academia collaboration could, for instance, potentially benefit through the establishment of macro-regional thematic networks and the “mirroring of topics”, but the Western Balkans’ economies each require individualised approaches to deal with this challenge. With regard to the implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda, it has been highlighted by the workshop participants that it is difficult for the Western Balkans economies to meet all the requirements of the ERA Policy Agenda. However, it was recommended that the alignment to the ERA Policy Agenda should be mandatory for all Western Balkans.

Concluding, the workshop fostered the discussion about the ERA reporting of the Western Balkans amongst the attendees. It also promoted central questions regarding the sharing of best practices and experiences. Furthermore, it demonstrated that ERA is a “moving object” that benefits from the political engagement of the European Union member states and the associated economies.

This workshop is part of the POLICY ANSWERS activities to monitor and analyse progress made by the Western Balkans’ economies in their integration into the new European Research Area (ERA). As part of these activities, POLICY ASWERS provides annual support for the drafting of the Western Balkans ERA Country Reports.

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