The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the winner of a contest for students from Polish academies of fine arts. The award-winning logo of the Western Balkans Summit, designed by Anna Laska from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, will also be used for the Polish Presidency of the Berlin Process at ministerial events and expert seminars.
The presidency will host the first ministerial meeting on 11-12 April in Warsaw. Foreign ministers of the Berlin Process countries and officials from the European Commission, the European Foreign Action Service and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office will discuss bilateral issues in the Western Balkan region, the situation of young people, specifically their participation in the labour market. The Western Balkans Summit in Poznan is scheduled to take place on 4 and 5 July 2019.
The first day will bring together ministers of the economy, the interior, and foreign affairs of the Berlin Process countries and, on the second day, the heads of government and state. The summit will also be attended by representatives of the European Commission, the OECD, regional organizations and international financial institutions. Political gatherings will be accompanied by the EU-Western Balkans Business Forum and the Civil Society Forum.
The Polish Presidency has set four priorities for the Berlin Process:
1) the economy;
2) connectivity (mutual infrastructural links);
3) the civic dimension (the civil society, think tanks, youth and culture);
Poland plans to present its cross-sectional experiences in transformation, accession negotiations and absorption of EU funds. The Polish Presidency programme was developed on the basis of broad consultations with representatives of the governments and civil societies of the Western Balkans carried out by the Government’s Plenipotentiary for the Organization of the Summit, Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.
About the Berlin Process
The Berlin Process (BP) was initiated by Germany to promote regional cooperation of the Western Balkans and to support the EU’s enlargement policy. Its first summit was held on 28 August 2014 in Berlin. It was followed by summits in Vienna (2015), Paris (2016), Trieste (2017), and London (2018).
The BP brings together six Western Balkan countries, candidates for EU membership (Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania) and potential candidates (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo) covered by the enlargement policy. Some EU Member States are also involved in the process: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, the UK, Italy, the European Commission, international financial institutions (such as the EIB and the EBRD), as well as international and regional organizations. Poland joined the BP in 2018 at the invitation of Chancellor Merkel and attended its London Summit.
The economy lies at the centre the Berlin Process. Its goal is to promote infrastructural projects (in the energy and transportation sectors) from the so-called Connectivity Agenda such as rebuilding ports, renovating railway lines, building gas interconnectors.
The Process also focuses on economic integration. At the Trieste Summit, the Western Balkan prime ministers adopted a Multi-Annual Action Plan for a Regional Economic Area, which aims to gradually increase the free movement of goods, services, investments and workers. Non-governmental and youth organizations are also engaged in the Berlin Process. The civil society takes part in meetings held on the sidelines of the summits.