On the 1st weekend of October, Board members of WBAA gathered in Brussels to have a team building activity, a Board meeting and a meeting with representatives of the EC. National Representatives from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia were together to discuss the main issues regarding the empowerment of WBAA and the continuation of it.
On Saturday, October the 1st, Board members joined in a chocolate workshop where they exercised their skills in making chocolates in a warm and friendly atmosphere. It was also the first onsite meeting attended by the Board members elected in May and it was a good opportunity to get to know each other better.
On Sunday, October the 2nd, the day was dedicated to presentation of the work done by each chapter, targets achieved and difficulties encountered during the organisational work of WBAA members. Motivation was pointed out to be the weakest point due to Covid 19 consequences, mainly, as it was reflected almost in every aspect of everyday life of youth and not only.
There were discussions on strengthening active membership and building partnerships with important stakeholders in the region, such as EU organisations present in each of the WB6, Erasmus+ corners, Alumni offices at Universities etc.
Other topics discussed were the membership criteria, the calls for WBAA Projects and their successful process of evaluation and implementation, schedule of 2023 WBAA meetings, schedule for elections, and last but not least, the organisational team for the next General Assembly, which is expected to take place in March 2023 in Novi Sad, Serbia.
On Monday, October the 3rd, the Board members reached the premises of EACEA to meet the representatives of EC responsible for WBAA: Hélène Banegas, Project Adviser at EACEA and Paola Ottonello, Policy Adviser at DG EAC.
The Board was warmly welcomed by the two officials who encouraged the members to keep on with the good job done so far. They informed the Board for updated policy of the Western Balkans in digital education, opportunities of students and youth through the launch of new Erasmus+ programmes with universities and other important stakeholders in the field of education and culture. The two officials state that the Western Balkans are high on the agenda of DG EAC and that the ministerial meetings will continue to take place annually. They assured the Board that the support by EC is serious and concrete and they consider WBAA as one of their main stakeholders. The Board also informed the two officials regarding the implementation of the WBAA Projects and the parties also discussed for improvement and strengthening of the cooperation between them.
Overall, it was a very productive and exciting meeting in Brussels, but also with enough opportunity to have a nice time together.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
Prof. assoc. Dr. Rregjina Gokaj
Edited by Service Provider
Albania, Durres, 11 October 2022