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President von der Leyen visits the Western Balkans

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Ahead of the EU-Western Balkans Summit on 6 October, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) will be in the Western Balkans between today (28 September) and Thursday (30 September), to visit Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The president will start her trip in Tirana this morning, where she will be received by Prime Minister Edi Rama, and President Ilir Meta. Together with the prime minister, she will attend the inauguration of the ‘Korb Muça School and Europa Kindergarten', which was rebuilt with EU funds under the EU4Schools programme after the devastating 2019 earthquake. This afternoon, she will travel to Skopje, where she will meet Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, as well as President Stevo Pendarovski, followed by a visit to a youth cultural centre, together with Prime Minister Zaev. On Wednesday morning (29 September), President von der Leyen will be in Pristina, where she will meet with President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti. She will also visit the Cicërimat Kindergarten, which was built with EU funds, together with the prime minister. The president will then travel to Podgorica, where she will be received by President Milo Đukanović and Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić. During her stay, she will visit the Institute of Public Health which received EU support in the fight against the pandemic, accompanied by the prime minister.

Then, the president will arrive in Belgrade, Serbia, where she will meet President Aleksandar Vučić on Wednesday and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić on Thursday. On Thursday morning, together with President Vučić, President von der Leyen will take part in the launch event of a project on railway Corridor X. The President will also witness the signing of a contract for the rehabilitation of a section on the Peace Highway which the EU is supporting. Her last stop will be Bosnia and Herzegovina, later on Thursday. The Commission president will attend the opening ceremony of the Svilaj Bridge connecting Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković and the Chair of Council of Ministers Zoran Tegeltija. The same day, in Sarajevo, she will also have meetings with the Presidency members of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over the course of her visit, President von der Leyen will give press conferences with the different Western Balkan leaders, which you can follow live on EbS

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European Commission

EU Cohesion policy: First Gender Equality Report maps female achievements and disadvantages in EU regions

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The Commission has published the first Regional Gender Equality Monitor of the EU. It provides an accurate picture of where women achieve the most at regional level in Europe, and where they face the largest disadvantages. Cohesion and Reform Commissioner Elisa Ferreira (pictured) said: “I am delighted to bring forward this ground-breaking work on mapping the glass ceiling that women face at regional level in Europe. The report demonstrates that there is still a lot to do to help women achieve the same opportunities as men. The Commission will continue working hard towards a gender-equal Europe.”

The paper is based on two specially developed indices: the ‘Female Achievement Index' and the ‘Female Disadvantage Index'. They reveal both the regions where women are achieving more and where they are at a disadvantage compared to men. The paper shows that, on average, women in more developed regions are able to achieve more and are at less of a disadvantage, while most women in less developed regions face big challenges. Within countries, women in capital regions tend to achieve more and are at less of a disadvantage. In general, regions with a lower female achievement index have a lower gross domestic product per capita, while regions with a higher level of female achievement have a higher level of human development. Finally, the quality of government is higher in regions where women achieve more.

In addition to the working paper, the underlying data and the interactive tools, results are also available in the INTERACTIVE DATA STORY.

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High Representative/Vice President Borrell travels to Washington

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High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell (pictured) will be in Washington DC to 15 October. He will hold a number of high-level meetings focused on the relationship between the European Union and the United States of America, on advancing the transatlantic agenda and on pressing international developments. This will be the first official visit by High Representative Borrell to Washington since the new US administration took up office. On Thursday, 14 October, High Representative Borrell will meet with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss current foreign policy issues and initiatives to deepen further the EU-US strategic partnership and advance an already close cooperation on foreign and security policy. He will also hold a meeting with the US Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks to discuss how to pursue enhanced bilateral co-operation in the field of security and defence. More information is available here.

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Commission participation in the Annual Meetings of World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund

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Several members of the Commission will participate in the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) taking place this week in Washington DC, United States of America. The meetings will bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector representatives, civil society, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, global financial stability, poverty eradication, jobs and growth, economic development, and aid effectiveness.

Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni will attend the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors and the G7 ministerial meeting. Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis will participate virtually in the plenary session of the International Monetary and Financial Committee. A written statement will be contributed by Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, to the plenary session of the Development Committee Meeting.

This meeting will revolve around two topics: ‘WBG Financing for Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID) – Towards A Post Pandemic Approach' as well as ‘Prevention, Preparedness, and Response: The WBG's Role in Future Crises'. Commissioner Gentiloni will also appear at an event organised by the Brookings Institution and will hold an exchange of views with the US Chamber of Commerce on the economic outlook and current policy priorities on Thursday, 14 October.

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