SEETO with EU support organised the 12th AMM (Annual Minister Meeting) held in Brussels on 6th of December, meeting gathered Ministers and high state officials from Western Balkan Region (WB6), EU Commissioner Bulc, Commissioner Hahn, Ambassadors and Consulate, SEETO steering committee members, representatives from WB6 region, DG NEAR, DG MOVE, high representatives from RCC, IRF, IFI-s and many other important stakeholders from Transport Institution and industry.
Opening the event, European Commissioner Violeta Bulc encouraged the Western Balkan Ministers chief transport policy-makers to meet average performance levels achieved by European Union member states within five years, equivalent to halving the current rate of traffic injuries. The Commissioner further underscored the essential role of regional collaboration and technical assistance programs in meeting these targets.
European Commissioner Hahn on his speech mentioned and informed the participants about the morning session/breakfast held with Commissioner Bulc and WB6 Ministers, stating that, “This morning started well: Violeta Bulc and I just handed the draft Transport Community Treaty to the countries of the Western Balkans. This audience is well placed to know that there have been discussions for years around this Treaty, so achieving the planned signature at the Italian Western Balkans summit would be a very significant political achievement” This audience is well placed to know that there have been discussions for years around this Treaty, so achieving the planned signature at the Italian Western Balkans summit would be a very significant political achievement. The idea is to mirror the positive experience that we have had in the energy sector over the last 10 years. And it would provide us with a consistent and common framework for moving forward on the transport acquis in the region. The Treaty we presented represents best possible outcome we could have hoped for. We should take advantage of this opportunity and move swiftly to help the Transport Community come to life. The ‘Berlin process’ has helped us establish a clear strategic transport framework and a regional context for our decisions on investment funding. The countries have also made excellent progress on establishing functioning national investment committees with the authority to establish credible single project pipelines for transport and energy investments.
Respective Ministers from Western Balkan countries on their speeches highlighted the importance of continues development of SEETO Core and Comprehensive network, with a special focus on the implementation of Connectivity Reform Measure, and Road Safety, where they expressed their willingness and readiness in taking direct and concrete measures that will have immediate impact in increasing levels of Road Safety in Western Balkan region and decreasing the levels of accident and fatalities.
The 12th AMM was highlighted with – Political agreement of all parties regarding the text of the Transport Community Treaty which was reached. With the priority on seeking for the quick initialling of the Transport Community Treaty, which aims to establish an integrated market for infrastructure and transport, and to enhance the transport operations within the region and with the EU and support the accession process of the Regional Participants to the EU
The Western Balkan countries are at a turning point in their political resolve to address road traffic injuries, but must step up efforts on the ground to deploy sustained and systemic responses to what has become a major public health crisis.
In conjunction with the 2016 SEETO AMM, the renowned International Road Federation (IRF) organised two parallel working lunches under the theme: “Safe & Seamless Mobility in South East Europe”, topics on “speed management” and “road project delivery”, both of which served to highlight the role of public private partnerships in overcoming essential road planning and safety challenges.
At the closure of AMM meeting, SEETO General Manager Mr. Dejan Lasica presented the findings and the conclusion of the event, Mr. Lasica thanked EU Commissioners, WB6 Ministers, DG NEAR and DG MOVE and all other major stakeholders for their continues involvement and support to Western Balkan countries.