- October 29, 2019
- November 01, 2019
From October 29 to November 1, 2019, the Aspen Institute Germany hosted a closed conference in Budva with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office and in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry of Montenegro on “The Western Balkans Between Economic Development and Emigration”. Among the conference participants were government representatives, Members of Parliament, mayors from the Western Balkans as well as experts from civil society from the region, Germany, and the EU. The aim of this conference was to offer a platform for these high-level participants to discuss central challenges the Western Balkans countries and their partners are facing. The following questions were in the focus of the discussions: Why are people leaving the WB6? How can economic activity and growth be fostered in the Western Balkans? How can attractive jobs be created in a sustainable way? What role can the digital economy play for economic development? How can entrepreneurs and start-ups be better supported? To what extend do underdeveloped networks of critical infrastructure constitute an additional obstacle to regional economic development? What role can the Regional Economic Area play and how can its creation be sped up? Besides these questions, the recent failure to come to an agreement about the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia at the last European Council meeting and how this will impact the future of the WB6 and EU relations was discussed during the event.