logo_balkansAt the start of this 2014-2020 programming period, new or renewed instruments are being established, and the European institutions are preparing the next steps of the EU Neighbourhood Policy. At the same time, the Danube and the Adriatic-Ionian Macro-Regional Strategies are underway and various cooperation programmes supported by the ERDF, IPA and ENI are expected to enter into force in 2015. However, initiatives such as the Black Sea Synergy and the Eastern Partnership are being hindered due to the current political situation.

In this context, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) and the European Committee of the Regions are co-organising a conference on “The Balkan and the Black Sea Area on the move: perspectives for Regional Authorities”. This conference will be held in Brussels on 29 May at the Committee of the Regions.

During the work, regional authorities of the EU Member States along with candidate and neighbouring countries will explore ways and means to become involved in the preparation and implementation of strategies and programmes related to this area. The conference will also enable discussion between regional stakeholders, the European Parliament and the European Commission on the new EU Neighbourhood Policy and the involvement of regions as well as regional cooperation in the wider Balkan and Black Sea area. Gerhard Schumann-Hitzler and Jean-Eric Paquet both Directors at the European Commission in charge of General Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and Hanna Jahns, Adviser to Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement, will participate in the debates. 

This Conference will follow the Balkan and Black Sea Regional Commission (BBSRC) 2015 General Assembly that is also organised on 29 May at the Committee of the Regions.

Within this framework, a meeting of the BBSRC Working Groups on Tourism and Business Cooperation is also taking place on 28 May at the CPMR Brussels office.