On 27 and 28 June, the Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platforms on Culture, Research and Innovation, Education and Training took place in Tirana. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel launched officially the platform. The meeting with the culture ministers was the first one organised with the Western Balkans countries.
The Commissioner called the ministers to take full advantage of these meetings to work jointly together with a view to develop cooperation between the EU and the Western Balkans and to contribute to the integration of the region in the EU.
Through exchange of best practices, knowledge and experiences, it will take our common work in the field of culture to the next level
– said Mariya Gabriel in her opening remarks.
In this first meeting, Commissioner Gabriel and the culture ministers of the region exchanged on the role of youth in the promotion and protection of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is a cornerstone of our culture that plays an important role in our societies, our communities and in international relations.
It is our responsibility to safeguard cultural heritage for the generations to come
– added Commissioner Gabriel.
The discussion covered several topics including the shortage of skilled professionals, how to make heritage professions attractive to young people, fighting illicit trafficking of cultural goods, and the role of cultural heritage to give a sense of belonging to Europe.
The European Commission, the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Albanian Minister of Culture co-chaired the event.
The Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport has set the Western Balkans on a solid path towards closer cooperation in these policy areas.