In the framework of the Summit on the Western Balkans, the Permanent Secretariat of the Western Balkan Chamber Investment Forum opened today in Trieste - the first joint institution in the region that was established by six chambers of commerce. The fo
cus of the work of the Secretariat will be to strengthen regional economic initiatives, to strengthen connections of business entities, to remove the barriers to more successful doing business and to more effectively support the strengthening of th

"The business community is looking for concrete solutions. We define our goals and we will measure the future results with completely concrete criteria - by simplifying administrative procedures, by solving the challenges that companies face and by improving the efficiency of doing business," said Marko Čadež, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia.

Čadež emphasized that the Secretariat will deal with regional economic initiatives and advocacy for the business community through recommendations to governments to improve trade, investments and business operations. The activities of this body will be focused on promotion of the region as an investment destination and connecting of small and medium-sized enterprises for inclusion in the supply chains of multinational companies.

President of the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo, Safet Grdžaliju pointed out that the Western Balkans Investment Forum of the Western Balkans has built professional, technical and administrative capacity in the past two years to prepare and implement regional projects on behalf of its members, which is confirmed by the large number of meetings and contracts signed during today's Business Forum in Trieste.

At the opening of the Secretariat of WB CIF in Trieste, the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Venice Giulia Antonio Paoleti said that the experience of this business association is at the disposal of Western Balkans Chambers of Commerce. The European Commission has said that the Secretariat will have financial support of two million euros, and the EBRD will help to continue the implementation of joint regional projects.

The ceremony was attended by prominent businessmen, officials and government representatives, including the head of Serbian diplomacy, Ivica Dačić, who was awarded with the plaque for successful cooperation and partnership by the President of the Chamber of Commerce Venice Giulia.

After the opening of the Secretariat, a panel discussion "Towards a Regional Economic Area in the Western Balkans - a milestone on the road to EU accession" was held. Representatives of renowned companies from the region gave concrete recommendations and suggestions for how to create a regional economic space for the economy and become an instrument for accelerating growth, development, competitiveness and employment.

The focus of WB CIF's activities in the forthcoming period will be to connect the economies of the Western Balkans more firmly in order to increase the development opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises in the region through projects and cooperation with the European Commission. It will be also worked on strengthening the role of the chamber in dual education, promotion of entrepreneurial education, support for startups, innovations.

On the morning business forum, European Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that the EU is preparing the countries of the region for the day when they will become part of an economic system of the Union, and pointed out those additional funds of 220 million euros have been dedicated for about 6,000 companies in the region.

Dušan Vujović, the finance minister in the Serbian government, emphasized that integration is the key to the Berlin process and that it is necessary to remove all obstacles along the way, such as customs barriers, and said that unhindered travel through the region is the key to integration.