The key demand of business people from the six economies of the Western Balkans is for their people, goods, services and capital to be provided with the ability to move without obstruction throughout the region, stated the president of the Managing Board of the Chamber Investment Forum (KIF), Marko Cadez, ahead of the Western Balkans Summit in Poznan, Poland, where the common regional chamber will present the positions and recommendations of more than 350,000 companies from the entire region.
Cadez warned that the region would have a great problem if the Western Balkans area was not arranged to function as a single market and if barriers obstructing the trade were not removed.
– Our economies are producing more and more goods and the volume of our mutual trade and the trade with the EU is increasing as well. That is one more reason for us to harmonize the regulations, simplify the procedures, bring the certificates in line and focus on recognizing the so-called cross-border documentation, so that the goods could flow through the region without obstruction – Cadez said.
KIF invites all the governments of the Western Balkans, European institutions, EU states and the members of the Berlin Process to reach a consensus whereby the economic interests of the economy and the citizens would take precedence over political interests and to work together on creating a New Deal for the region.
The deal would entail not just the trade, but also the harmonization of regulations, standards and practices, through the question of investment policies, to establishing digital connections and education systems.
– This pertains to forming a community modeled after the European economic union, which would aim to enable a customs union, create a single market, develop new common policies and secure political frameworks for deeper integration processes between the economies of the Western Balkans and facilitate the region's joining the EU – the KIF document reads.
In order to secure a better coordination and a quicker execution of agreed measures, the chambers within KIF propose the establishment of ministries for regional cooperation in all the economies of the Western Balkans.
The list of recommendations of the business community features an easier and better access to credits for SMEs and the development of alternative means of finance. They also advocate the carrying out of a digital agenda, increased mobility of labor force within the region and the provision of quality education and professional development available to all.