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Regulatory Dialogue between the European Union and the Western Balkans

A core objective of the European Union’s engagement with the Western Balkans is to prepare them to meet all the requirements of membership. The 1st Regulatory Dialogue between the European Union and the Western Balkans on Information Society and Media was held in Brussels on 8 and 9 June.

Ministers from the Western Balkans with portfolio relating to Digital Policy

Ministers from across the Western Balkans with a portfolio on digital policy participated in the 1st Regulatory Dialogue held in Brussels on 8 and 9 June to better understand and meet membership requirements in the context of accession negotiations. Inaugurated by Roberto Viola, Director General of DG Connect, the focus of the meeting was to support countries across the region in developing policies aimed to converge with the EU’s ever-evolving digital policy, rules and standards, and in closing digital gaps

During the first day of the Dialogue, discussions focused on the European Electronic Communications Code, the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive, and developments in 5G, The EU Cybersecurity Act, the Network and Information Society Directive and the 5G toolbox. On the second day, panelists had an interactive session on the Digital Services Act and Digital Market Act, the Data Governance and Data Act and on European digital identity.

Discussion included the implementation of priority legislative reforms by countries in the Western Balkans. Such regulatory reforms form the basis of the roadmap for reducing roaming charges between the EU and the Western Balkans, by establishing an investment-friendly environment in the Western Balkans.

Participants committed to building upon the Dialogue to facilitate the implementation of the digital acquis in the Western Balkans. The need to prioritise implementation of the regional Memorandum on 5G and the Joint Statements on Interoperable Western Balkans and Free Flow of Data was highlighted

The forthcoming EU-Western Balkans leaders’ meeting on 23 June and the EU-Western Balkans Summit in autumn 2022 will be important milestones for regional cooperation in digital transformation, especially in relation to cyberspace.

The 2nd edition of the Regulatory Dialogue is scheduled to take place in spring 2023 in Brussels.