Delegation of the Chamber Investment Forum headed by the president of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia and vice-president of the Chamber Investment Forum, Branko Azeski, composed of Marko Čadež, president of the Chamber Investment Forum and president of the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, Safet Gërxhaliu, secretary general of the Chamber Investment Forum and former president of the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo and group of businessmen of the region had a working meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev and members of the economic team of the Government.
At the meeting it was talked about the prospects of the intensification the economic cooperation among the six countries of the Western Balkan region and about the improvement of the competitiveness of the economies from the whole region by connecting the business communities and increasing the intraregional trade exchange as part of the objectives originating from the Berlin Process.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister Zaev stated that the in order to have an economic progress of the Western Balkan region, it is necessary to have regional connection and that we will be stronger only if we build synergies and have joint performances. He stated that the cooperation of the business communities of the region is at a more advanced level than the political cooperation of the governments and it is necessary for the political stakeholders to follow the steps of the business when it comes to regional cooperation. He stated that currently the exchange in the region is still suffering a lot of negative consequences due to the long waiting time at the border-crossing points, confirmed by the study conducted by the World Bank according to which trucks spend 80% of the time at the border-crossing point and only 20% of the time is spent on transferring the goods on the roads, which causes annual loss in the amount of 1 billion euros. Therefore, he stated that in the following period the Government will exhaustively work on introducing integrated border management of the border-crossing points with Serbia, Albania and Bulgaria, with which the transfer of goods at the border-crossing points will be facilitated and accelerated. He expressed readiness to strengthen the mutual trust between the institutions of the region in a way in which the certificates will be acknowledged in our country, as well as the analysis and the other international documents issued by the competent institutions of Serbia.
- The Chamber Investment Forum actively works on the economic aspects for establishing a regional economic area. Our governments will be stronger and our citizens will be more satisfied when the chamber association will present solid critic and proposals, but when it also assists in the implementation of the real solutions. The objective is Western Balkans to continue to be connected mostly at an economic level because we want the citizens and the companies of our countries to feel the economic benefits of our cooperation- stated Prime Minister Zaev.
The Deputy Prime Minister of the Government responsible for economic affairs and coordination of the economic institutions, Kocho Angjushev, PhD, stated that the economy, particularly the industrialization are going in a positive direction, the confirmation of which are the statistical data and he also stated that it is even more important that the chambers of commerce of Western Balkans are united.
- The economic and political connection of the countries of the region is of crucial importance because if the Western Balkan region firstly strengthens the mutual cooperation, then it would be easier for all of us to cooperate with the EU and the third markets. It is imperative for the cooperation between the countries to be improved and accelerated, especially among the companies of the private sector of the Western Balkan region, stated Angjushev.
The president of the Chamber Investment Forum Marko Čadež stated that the business community of the region is united via the Chamber Investment Forum and not only sees the realization of the single Regional Economic Area as a wish, but also as a matter of survival and readiness for the enormous European market for the companies from the whole region, for which the business community has clear demands. Čadež shortly presented the basic aims of the activities of CIF, both regarding the current and planned projects that should offer a concrete package of services for the support of the companies that work at a regional level and that have a capacity to expand their cooperation by creating joint product, joint performance in third markets and representation of the region as single investment destination.
The president of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia and vice-president of the Chamber Investment Forum, Branko Azeski, stated that all the conditions for the initiative of the business community of the region translated into CIF’s activities to succeed are met. The three key conditions are met- the initiative has strong advocates (the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as a supporter of the Berlin Process, the Governments of Japan, Austria and Switzerland that financially support this Forum); clearly defined objectives are set and control mechanisms that will implement and realize the activities are clearly defined. He stated that the Chamber Investment Forum represents 350.000 companies of the region and the exchange is about one billion and 560 million and is expected to be doubled in the next four years, which will create conditions for faster European integration of the countries from the region.
Tatjana Shterjova, PhD
Sanja Nikolova, M.A.