July 05, 2018 - The meeting of the Ministers of Economy of Western Balkan countries was held over the last few days in Vienna, Austria. This meeting was attended by all six Ministers of Western Balkan countries, as well as European Union Commissioner, Johannes Hahn.
Regional trade between the countries of the Western Balkans in the previous period shows great growth, which points to the good results of the cooperation of the member states within the Berlin process, as said by the European Union Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn.
“Reflecting on the previous activities of the Western Balkan member states, the Berlin Process needs to be accelerated and no major changes should be needed in order for all countries to agree with the proposed, because this is the benefit for all the citizens of countries that are members of Western Balkans,” pointed out Hahn.
Among many topics, the most discussed were “Joint Access to the Digitized Western Balkans”, “Regional Economic Space – Progress and Future Steps”, as well as the “Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Start-ups”.
Representative of Montenegro, Minister of Economy Dragica Sekulić said that Montenegro will be fully committed to the implementation of the activities from the Multi-Annual Action Plan for Regional Economic Area, all in accordance with the planned deadlines.
“Montenegro has implemented a high percentage of activities planned for the period after the Trieste Summit in 2017, in all four Multi-Annual Action Plan for Regional Economic Area components, which are trade, investment, mobility and digitization. Regarding trade, Montenegro ratified the CEFTA Additional Protocol 5 in December last year and supported the text of the Additional Protocol 6 on Trade in Service, as well as the fact that the country contributed to the launch of negotiation on the application of the Trade Dispute Resolution Mechanism – Additional Protocol 7,” noted Sekulić.
She recalled that the Regional Investment Reform Agenda was adopted by representatives of Western Balkans countries at a ministerial meeting held in May this year.
The participants of the meeting agreed that there is a need for greater support for small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in women’s entrepreneurship, but also in other ways, in order to contribute to the stability of the region.
Ministers of the Government of Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina attended the meeting, as well as the representatives of international institutions such as EBRD, OECD, KfW and World Bank.
As part of this meeting, the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed the first tranche of the financial contract in the amount of 100 million EUR, while the total value of the credit support is 150 million EUR.