A New Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans

The event, co-organised by the EEIG EuRelations & the European DIGITAL SME Alliance, took place on the 11th of October 2023, from 10:30 to 13:00 CEST, at the Gemeenschapscentrum De Maalbeek (Rue Général Leman 118, 1040 Brussels).

The European Union and the Western Balkans have embarked on a journey towards a common future. With increasing challenges faced by the Western Balkans in their digitalisation path, the EU needs to move beyond its 2018 Digital Agenda and reinforce engagement in digital transformation with Western Balkan partners. Amidst the current geopolitical environment and with the strategic importance of digital technologies, this partnership is of key significance. If done right, it can generate ample mutual benefits and pave the way for future integration of Western Balkans with the EU.

Western Balkans face several hurdles on their path to digital transformation, such as shortage of digitally skilled workers, infrastructure needs and a varied level of digitalisation of government services. In response, the EU hopes to demonstrate that it can be a reliable partner in the era of the digital revolution. It is in this regard that the European DIGITAL SME Alliance has proposed the discussion paper A New Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans with five policy recommendations promoting the EU’s human-centred approach to digital technologies. These recommendations also put at the centre the needs of EU’s Western Balkan partners, including the needs of youth, cities and regions.

The discussion paper has been produced by the DIGITAL SME’s Task Force for the Western Balkans. Event participants were invited to provide their feedback following the paper’s discussion. Their comments will be taken into account in the development of the final version of the paper.

The event featured the launch of the European DIGITAL SME Alliance’s discussion paper, with keynotes and panels including academic experts and representatives of the Western Balkans, along with stakeholders from European institutions. The event was also the occasion to present the DIGITAL SME Summit, which will take place in Brussels on the 13th of November 2023.

Shared presentations

Antonio Grasso, Public Affairs Director, European DIGITAL SME Alliance

A New Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans

Daniele Sabato, Policy Officer, Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion

Coordinating Digital Agendas and Social Strategies

Dragiša Damjanovic, Project Assistant, Ministry of Education of the Republic of Montenegro

Educational Perspectives on the Digitalisation of Western Balkans

Guido Salvaneschi, Associate Professor, University of St. Gallen

Synergies between Industry and Academia for a New Digital Agenda

Event's highlights


OPENING REMARKS 10:30 – 10:40
  • Sebastiano TOFFALETTI, Secretary General of DIGITAL SME
  • Davide GIRIBALDI, President of the EEIG EuRelations


10:40 – 11:20
  • Antonio GRASSO, Public Affairs Director at DIGITAL SME
  • Daniele SABATO, Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion
  • Suela JANINA, Ambassador of the Mission of the Republic of Albania to European Union
  • Dragiša DAMJANOVIĆ, Project Assistant at the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Montenegro
Q&A 11:20 – 11:30
COFFEE BREAK 11:30 – 11:50
KEYNOTE SPEECH 11:50 – 12:10
  • Guido SALVANESCHI, Associate Professor, University of St. Gallen
  • Adrienn KIRALY, Senior Adviser, DG NEAR.D3, European Commission
  • Antonio GRASSO, Public Affairs Director at DIGITAL SME
Q&A 12:40 – 13:00


European DIGITAL SME Alliance


Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion


EEIG EuRelations


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