As of today, Albania, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro are becoming part of Digital Europe, a program worth close to 7.5 billion euros, the Council for Regional Cooperation announced, reports Anadolu.
The Secretary General of the Council for Regional Cooperation, Majlinda Bregu, stated at the meeting within the framework of the regulatory dialogue between the European Union and the Western Balkans, organized by the European Commission today in Brussels, that today’s accession of four economies from the region to the Digital Europe program represents a great progress that opens up opportunities for them to use the program worth almost 7.5 billion euros.
“What once seemed almost utopian has become a reality since 2021, when roaming charges were abolished in the region. We continue to keep the promises made regarding roaming. During the first regulatory dialogue, I pointed out that the next challenge is to reduce the enormous costs of roaming between the EU and the region. From October 1, we expect an average regional reduction in roaming data transfer costs of 30 percent. The impact of reduced costs always goes beyond the monetary aspect,” said Bregu.
Ministers from the Western Balkans region in charge of communications, European Commission officials, as well as representatives of regulatory bodies and communications agencies from the region gathered at the meeting.
On average, 72.5 percent of households in the Western Balkans had access to fixed broadband networks with speeds greater than 30Mbps, compared to 90 percent in the EU. In addition, only 35 percent of the region’s citizens possess at least basic digital skills, while the EU average is almost 54 percent.
Only three percent of enterprises in the Western Balkans used at least one artificial intelligence technology, while the figure in the EU was almost three times higher, with SMEs in the region using digital technologies much less compared to the EU average. The upcoming Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which should include gradual integration into the single digital market and greater financial assistance, can be the main driver of dialogue and cooperation with the European Union, according to the Council for Regional Cooperation.
On the Anadolu Agency (AA) website, only part of the news content is published, which is available to users through our News Flow System (HAS). Please contact us for subscription.