In the context set by the Communication from the Commission on ‘a credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans’, the Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) organised the EU-Western Balkans Cluster Policy Learning and Matchmaking Event on November 22 and 23 in Zagreb, Croatia. The event was facilitated by PwC in close collaboration with the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and was hosted by the Zagreb Innovation Centre.
The cluster policy learning sessions gathered 10 policy makers from Serbia, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and other COSME countries Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Sweden. 65 cluster organisations from the Western Balkan countries, European Union countries, Ukraine and Turkey participated in the matchmaking sessions. These clusters represent a large number of enterprises, and more than 4000 SMEs, in the field of AgroFood, IT, Manufacturing/ Automotive, Tourism/ Maritime, Textile/ Apparel/ Footwear, Pharmaceuticals/ Chemicals, and Energy.
Cluster organisations managed to strike up for more than 230 successful matchmaking meetings and received practical advice on cluster management and governance, as well as on implementing successful cross-border and cross-sector collaborations. The cluster delegations had the opportunity to participate in three different site visits to Hub385, the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Zagreb and the company Feroimpex.
The event is expected to result in cooperation agreements and long-term partnerships as well as further collaboration on cross-sectors and industries between clusters from the EU and clusters from the Western Balkan countries.