Cooperation, Key to Western Balkans' Global Inclusion

President Meta positively assessed the economic forum, pointing out that it should serve as a platform for concrete ideas on regional economic co-operation and addressing common challenges

TIRANA - The economic forum on "Future Balkans: Towards a global inclusion" kicked off Wednesday in Tirana as a platform where senior state officials and economy, finance experts discussed issues and proposals related to the inclusion of six Western Balkan countries in the global development agenda. The forum organized by Scan media group was also attended by regional high level political and economic personalities.

In his remarks at the Tirana Economic Forum, President of Republic Ilir Meta said that "the smartest and the most long-term strategy would be to create synergies between our countries to design a unified form of strategic investment where the entire region is seen as a single market for the multinational corporations or for major projects with an impact on the region." President Meta highlighted the need to establish a common economic area between the Western Balkan countries as a message about the potential of a market with over 20 million consumers.President positively assessed the creation of the first private securities exchange in Albania ALSE, which, according to him, is a necessity for the new stage of the economy and an excellent investment opportunity for individuals and businesses. "In a free market economy, the banking system and capital markets function as two lungs of an organism. Unfortunately, in the absence of a bourse, the Albanian economy operated below its capacity and potential. Under these conditions, the creation of the private equity market is a development potential and a necessity for the new stage of our economy that we want to achieve because it affects diversification and lowers the cost of financing resources for companies and increases efficiency through increased competition in the financial sector. Also, it is a great opportunity of financial investment for our citizens," Meta said.

Further, Meta conveyed three messages. The first underlined the pivotal role politics has to abolish all regional cooperation barriers on a range of issues. Secondly, Meta conveyed the message that without integration no development occurs. While, above all he emphasized that markets and capitals expand development opportunities enormously as well as set up more cooperation patterns rather than the archaic ones. "The path towards EU accession will be quicker and more successful if we act on block and are coordinated," President Meta said.

Deputy Prime Minister Senida Mesi presented Albanian government vision and strategy in the frame of regional cooperation. "We are one of the most optimist countries in Western Balkans in terms of EU accession," Mesi said.

According to Mesi, Albanian government is confident that Western Balkans relations' normality and cooperation strengthening via dialogue and concrete initiatives towards EU integration are prior processes inherent form each country's aspiration for advancement.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Mesi pointed out that the countries should get better acquainted to each other, to the culture and traditions. "This venture seeks everyone's engagement as well as our serious EU partners in order to commit to a better presentation of ourselves," Mesi stated. According to her, the Berlin Process, EU's IPA funds as well as the new initiative on EU's accession acceleration of Western Balkans countries to be launched at the beginning of February, are important mechanism to facilitate Balkans' countries path towards EU. 

Bank of Albania Governor, Gent Sejko underlined that Western Balkans countries are competing with each other rather than to interact instead, which is far than productive.
"Competing for the same international investors group, the region's countries often try to improve and urge their individual profile offering taxation facilities or other subsidies," Governor Sejko said.

Resolution of such issues demands vision, regional cooperation and interaction," Sejko added.
"Albania," Sejko said "offers a positive example in terms of economic and financial stability."
"There is room to a dialogue increase. Without any clear convergence policies cooperation becomes difficult. Therefore, a regional stock market would be meaningful," BoA governor Sejko concluded.

The opening speech of the forum was held by Elvana Hana, head of SCAN Media Group. Present at the event were also Minister of Economy Arben Ahmetaj who highly assessed the forum, Head of Financial Supervisory Authority Ervin Koçi, Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj, State Minister for Enterprise Protection Sonila Qato, Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj, the head of the Chamber of Commerce Safet Gërxhaliu and many others.

The discussions were divided into three sessions, each centered on one topic: Leadership and Institutions, Financial Capital Markets, Private Entrepreneurship.

Source: ADN

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