How can science systems of the Western Balkans be improved and better included in the European Research Area? This question is at the heart of the “Joint Science Conference”, part of the “Western Balkans Process/Berlin Process” initiated by German chancellor Angela Merkel. The OeAW is involved in these conferences.
This international conference series brings together scholars and representatives of academies of science, rectors’ conferences and other institutions from EU and Western Balkan countries. The first “Joint Science Conference” took place in Germany in 2015 at the initiative of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the second was held from 22–24 May 2016 in Vienna by invitation of the OeAW and Leopoldina. In 2017 the meeting was organised by the French Académie des sciences in Paris.
The Western Balkans Process involves the EU member states Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and the six countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – and the European Commission. The initiative’s goals include the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the European Union, intensification of the accession process and strengthening regional collaboration in the political, economic, academic and societal spheres.
The findings of the annual “Joint Science Conferences” are summarised in joint statements serving as independent science-based recommendations for political decision-makers within the EU and the Western Balkan countries.