Through regional networking, Western Balkans businesses are preparing for the European Union market

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 5, 2023 13:22

Through regional networking, Western Balkans businesses are preparing for the European Union market

Story Highlights

  • In Skopje, the EU-Western Balkans Business Platform, gathered the business community from the region in one place.

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SKOPJE, March 31, 2023 - Improving infrastructure, solving barriers that exist to speed up the flow of goods and services, establishing a joint airline that will connect the region, solving the issue of certification bodies and documents are just some of the topics discussed by business representatives in Skopje at the EU-Western Balkans Business Platform, which gathered the business community from the region in one place. The purpose of the forum was the promotion of intra-regional cooperation, but also better preparation of companies from the region for joining the single EU market.

The event was attended by high representatives of the European Union, various directorates and regional institutions, who work on the economic agenda in the region.

According to Branko Azeski, co-president of the Chamber Investment Forum and president of the Chamber of Commerce of North Macedonia, this dialogue will contribute to the resolution of administrative, regulatory and technical issues, which are important for companies from the Western Balkans region, but also for the private sector from the region to better understand the functioning of the single market. of the EU, to which companies will have to adapt their operations.

His Kosovar colleague and president of the Chamber Investment Forum, Lulzim Rafuna, pointed out that strengthening cooperation between the business sector of the Western Balkan countries and the European Commission is extremely important.

"We are here to prepare companies for the European Union market. I am satisfied that KIF has done an excellent job in the past period and I have a positive attitude about all things that will happen in the future, together with Mr. Azeski, because we have the support of all interested parties, as well as donors. Our job is actually to be a bridge and help companies during the process of digitization, the green agenda and other possible challenges brought by EU membership".

As part of the events organized by KIF in Skopje over the past two days, a session of the KIF Board of Directors was held, where Tatjana Šterjova Duškovska was re-elected for another term as Secretary General of the Chamber Investment Forum.


The annual reports on the insights of companies regarding the progress of the implementation of the Joint Regional Market Action Plan, prepared by the WB6 CIF, show that despite the fact that modest progress has been made in the process of regional economic integration, most of the work is yet to come. The full implementation of the Common Regional Market remains an issue of the highest priority for the business community of the region, and despite the lag in its implementation, the results of research conducted over the past three years confirm that the issues listed as action points in this document still remain valid demands of the regional business community and companies throughout the region they expect visible developments in relation to the issues that have been selected as key priority areas. In general, the WB6 business community is very supportive of any viable option that makes regional business cooperation more efficient and helps make each market within the Western Balkans stronger and more sustainable.

In the panel discussion, members of the WB6 CIF Business Council focused on several topics, including the quality infrastructure in WB6 and the need to continue work on harmonizing the accreditation of WB6 laboratories with European rules and on mutual recognition in WB economies; the challenge of reducing waiting times at border crossings, where infrastructure and personnel, along with border procedures, still remain a key obstacle in ensuring the smooth movement of goods between the region and the EU and within the WB6 region; elimination of non-tariff barriers that continue to hinder regional trade; challenges, but also perspectives for WB6 companies in incorporating ESG standards into their operations and compliance with the EU Green Deal and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.


WB6 CIF, with the support of the European Commission, organized the award ceremony, held on March 29, 2023. in Skopje, and awarded prizes to 16 successful companies in the Western Balkans region. The award ceremony celebrated the success of some of the most prominent companies from the WB region in various categories, including the leading (champion) investor in the Western Balkan countries, the highest export growth in the region for 2022, the environmental champion in the Western Balkans, the digital champion in the Western Balkans, a successful supplier in the regional chain and the most innovative company in the Western Balkans.

Regional awards recognize the contribution of companies that are leaders in regional economic integration and cooperation in various pillars of the Common Regional Market, the Green and Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans and the integration of the economies of the Western Balkans towards the EU single market.

The award winners are the following companies from the region:

Aluminij industrija d.o.o. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Company with the highest export growth in the region for 2022); Mega-International doo Montenegro (Company with the highest export growth in the region for 2022); Tikveš North Macedonia Winery (Company with the highest export growth in the region for 2022); MARBO PRODUCT DOO BELGRADE Serbia (Company with the highest export growth in the region for 2022); SIK d.o.o. Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina (Digital Champion); CACTTUS J.S.C (Digital Champion); Logate Montenegro (Digital Champion); Makprogres doo North Macedonia (Digital champion); Salveo d.o.o. Serbia (Digital Champion); AZ Group Albania (Champion for environmental protection); Mont Vai Montenegro (Champion for environmental protection in WB6); Institute of Civil Engineering MAKEDONIJA AD SKOPJE (CEIM) (Champion for environmental protection in WB6); Elixir Zorka-Production of mineral fertilizers Serbia (Champion for environmental protection); Pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetic industry ALKALOID AD Skopje North Macedonia (Leading (champion) investor); Nelt Co doo Serbia (Successful supplier in the regional chain); Farmavit d.o.o. PJ FOOD Planet Bosnia and Herzegovina (The most innovative company in WB6).

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 5, 2023 13:22