European business community supports a more credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans

May 17th, 2018

In the framework of the European Union and Western Balkans countries Summit in Sofia held on 17 May, EUROCHAMBRES and the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum (WB 6CIF) support the commitments from both sides to reaffirm the European perspective of the region.

Mr Arnaldo Abruzzini, EUROCHAMBRES’ CEO, stressed at this occasion: “A clear and credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans will bring mutual economic benefits and will streghten stability in the region. It will improve business environment by making it more predictable and investment friendly, but more importantly it will renew hope within the societies, which is needed to carry out the ambitious and costly reforms required by the accession process”.

As leading business representatives, Chambers are supporting the business community to prepare for enlargement in enhancing SME competitiveness as well as trade and investments between both regions. Chambers play also a crucial role in other areas key in the enlargement process, such as fight against corruption, regional cooperation, application of EU rules and standards, vocational education and training, and enhanced dialogue and mutual understanding between both business communities.

In this context, Mr Marko Cadez, President of the WB6 CIF managing board and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia highlighted: “EU enlargement to the Western Balkans holds great potential for supporting growth and job creation on both sides. To unlock it we need to start thinking how we can leverage the legal and policy harmonisation, for removing barriers to trade and investments between today’s and future EU. To make this happen, we need to engage businesses more, by setting up a platform to facilitate on-going dialoge between decision makers and business community from the EU and Western Balkans.”

EUROCHAMBRES and WB6 CIF have prepared a joint position on the Commission’s Strategy onA credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans(COM (2018) 65) to express support for EU policy in this area and offer input for its implementation.




March 8th, 2018

The WB6 CIF Permanent Secretariat based in Trieste is the first tool CIF has created to articulate the voice of the regional business community and deliver it to key decision makers. The role of WB6 CIF entails interventions on facilitating public-private dialogue engaging complex and growing decision making institutional architecture in order to produce more effective and business-friendly regional policies (policy side), but also pooling chamber resources to provide more effective support services to local businesses (capacity building and service side).

On 4 April 2017 the presidents of the chambers of commerce and industry from the Western Balkans 6 have decided in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina to establish the WB6 CIF Permanent Secretariat, as a separate CIF entity seated in Trieste, Italy. The joint Agreement on Establishment of the WB6 CIF Permanent Secretariat has been concluded on 20 June 2017 and its inauguration held on 12 July 2017, under the auspices of the Italian chairmanship of the Berlin Process.

We at the Secretariat are following the implementation of the Multiannual Action Plan for Regional Economic Area the way that it will maximize the benefits to regional business community, by feeding the process with input of what really troubles companies when doing business in the region. In addition, we are creating support services that will help enterprises in reaping the benefits of regional integration.

Contact the Secretariat:

Piazza della Borsa 14, 34121 Trieste, Italy

Klotilda Binjaku, Secretary General

Nihad Bajramovic, Deputy Secretary General

Danica Milovanovic, Project Manager


Conferences, round tables, meetings, trainings, seminars - announcements of the activities

August 21st, 2015

In the official program of the Vienna summit on the Western Balkans, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, on August 27 will hold a meeting of representatives of business community of the region, the EU and financial institutions.

The meeting is devoted to the proposal for the reform of the framework for foreign investments, new transnational infrastructure projects, and their financing and general guidance in the implementation of the Action Plan "Chambers of Commerce ZB6 in the creation of value chain on the regional level." The meeting will bring together ministers of economy and presidents of chambers of commerce of the Western Balkans, France, Italy, Germany, 15 leading Austrian investors in the region, as well as representatives from the EIB, EBRD, WB. Host of the meeting of businessmen is Christoph Leitl, President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, and it is planned addressing of Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement.

Marko Čadež, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, at a meeting in Vienna will present on behalf of all chambers of the Western Balkan the main guidelines of the Action Plan "Chambers of Commerce ZB6 in the creation of value chain on the regional level", the document which is initiated and whose elaboration is coordinated by CCIS. The main objective of the joint Action Plan is active and effective involvement of the business communities in the implementation of the ongoing regional projects and launching new initiatives with which existing resources of Western Balkan Chambers would join and develop further - in order to create the foundations for sustainable economic development and growth of competitiveness of the region, and achieving overall economic and political stability.

The Vienna summit on the Western Balkans is a continuation of the "Berlin Process" on the promotion of regional cooperation as the basis of the European road of the region. The first summit, on the initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was held in Berlin at the end of August last year. One of the key accents of "Berlin Conference" was that goals of the process should be achieved through clearly defined regional projects implemented in precise deadlines, with the financial assistance of the European Commission and EU member states.

Joint initiatives for changing the image of the region

August 27th, 2015

At the Summit of the Western Balkans in Vienna the Chamber Investment Forum is established in order to ontribute to strengthening of regional cooperation and attracting investments

Marko Čadež, President of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia pointed out that investors have noticed a new dynamic in the region. "They recognized the positive development, that the region cooperates mutually, the kind of stability that has come through cooperation," he said, adding that he had not heard a single negative comment but just words of encouragement. President of CCIS expressed his great satisfaction with what has been done keeping in mind that the presidents of the Chambers in this format met on 16 of June and till now is made the Action Plan of six Western Balkan Chambers with 26 projects. Presenting the action plan on the meeting, he segregated three projects: Chamber Investment Forum (CIF), the Joint Forum of Chambers of Commerce of the Western Balkans for the programming of regional projects financed from EU funds, and project of Regional platform for strengthening small and medium businesses. Presidents of the six chambers of the Western Balkans, as well as presidents of chambers of Croatia and Slovenia signed an agreement on the establishment of the Chamber Investment Forum, with the aim for exchange of information and proposing measures to increase investments. Čadež explained that companies from the region individually are not big enough and strong enough to perform independently, and that substantial results for the economies of the Western Balkans can be expected only if the chambers connect them and give them the right information about opportunities to participate in the realization of large infrastructure projects. The goal of the Joint Forum of Chambers of the Western Balkans for the programming of regional projects funded by the EU is the development of all Western Balkan Chambers, what will be done with the support of Eurochambres. As Čadež stressed, realization of joint initiatives can change the image of the region with which it becomes recognized as an area in which the question of economics is put on forefront.

President of CCIS said that he expects of top officials at the summit in Vienna to reach an agreement on key transport network for the Western Balkans. "The task of chambers in the region is to influence the governments of the countries to simplify or abolish bureaucratic procedures that monitor the flow of people, goods and services, and to eliminate 41 non-tariff barriers that remained from 2009," concluded Čadež.

President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Safet Grdžaliju said that there is a desire that the Balkans becomes a place of cooperation and peace, while the president of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce Christoph Leitl said that Serbia is doing the right things while working on reforms.

In Vienna was also held a working breakfast attended by the presidents of chambers of commerce, economy ministers and representatives of major Austrian companies investors in the Western Balkans. Meetings of Western Balkan Chambers took place within Summit on Western Balkans which is part of the Berlin process initiated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Cooperation of CCIS and KCC an example in the region

December 8th, 2015

Cooperation between Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia and the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo should be a model of cooperation for all institutions in the Western Balkans - that dialogue and discussions effectively solve the problems, with the aim of improving the stability and economic prosperity of the region in the process of euro integration, it was announced after the meeting of the presidents of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia and Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Marko Čadež.

Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, supported the activities of the two chambers in the framework of the Berlin process and assessed those initiatives of CCIS and PKK for improvement of cooperation and economic strengthening of the Western Balkans can be an example to others. Pointing out that he believes in the economic development of the region, Han stressed that prosperity depends on private initiatives to create new businesses and jobs. In order to encourage cooperation, the European Union is ready to support such initiatives, not only with words but also with money from the IPA funds, said Han.

"At the initiative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia and Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, representatives of companies from various sectors meet every month, discuss and conclude specific businesses of mutual interest," said Marko Čadež, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, citing the example of the company from Belgrade, which will visit Kosovo Chamber of Commerce on Friday to discuss the distribution of its aeromechanics produced in Boljevac on the Kosovo market and the potential for export to Albania and Macedonia.

Čadež stressed that the two trade associations are actively involved in resolving and overcoming problems and expect support from the EU institutions. We cannot solve the political problems, but we can connect experts and offer solutions in the interest of our economies, said President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia.

Safet Grdžaliju, President of Kosovo Chamber of Commerce assessed that economic development is a precondition for progress in the region and that the two chambers through their own initiatives and activities send a clear message that dialogue has no alternative. The economy needs to create the future; barriers can be resolved only through dialogue. That is the best way to show to the EU that the Western Balkans may be a region of peace and cooperation, noted Grdžaliju.

Čadež and Grdžaliju talked with Angelina Eichhorst, Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS) responsible for Western Europe, the western Balkans and Turkey. During the working visit to Brussels, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia Marko Čadež met with Patrick Voller, International Secretary of the European People’s Party. In the afternoon hours in the Eurochambres continued technical dialogue between chambers of commerce of Serbia and Kosovo.

Cooperation between businessmen key to stability and development in the region

December 21st, 2015

Business Forum which was organized today by "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia" and "Kosovo Chamber of Commerce," brought together representatives of more than 150 companies from different sectors of the economy.

Participants of the Business Forum in "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia", were addressed by Marko Čadež, President of " Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia," Safet Grdžaliju, President of "Kosovo Chamber of Commerce," Željko Sertić, Minister of Economy, Blerand Stavileci, Minister for Economic Development, Marko Đurić, Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija and Lucy Maizles, Head of the political department of the British Embassy. Cooperation between the two chambers of commerce represents a major step in the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština, as well as improvement of economic development and prosperity of the entire region of the Western Balkans, it was assessed by the participants of the Business Forum.

The priorities of joint activities of "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia" and "Kosovo Chamber of Commerce", as it was confirmed at the Form, are linking of the business communities, the removal of trade barriers, opening up opportunities for joint projects in construction, energy, infrastructure, IT, joint ventures and the establishment of the company, as well as participation in tenders and other markets. Two trade associations have received strong institutional support for their activities.

„Chambers of Commerce has been identified as initiators of regional networking and our cooperation highest EU officials cited as an example. Since September, every month according to an agreed calendar, have been organized sectoral meetings, B2B meetings and the participation of businessmen at fairs in Belgrade and Priština, "said President Čadež. Participation in the Business Forum in CCIS of representatives of institutions and agencies responsible for economic development is very important as a support and help for businessmen in solving practical problems that are bothering them in doing business.

Safet Grdžaliju, President of the "Kosovo Chamber of Commerce," said that the Business Forum proves that there is willingness and readiness for cooperation and identification of common interests. Solving problems should be directed to establishing partnerships and economic relations for successful cooperation of businessmen. Grdžaliju is convinced that entrepreneurs have a special role in the normalization of relations.

Minister of Economy Željko Sertić invited representatives of companies on enhancing cooperation because, he said, it is the best way to overcome all barriers. "'Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia" and "Kosovo Chamber of Commerce', from June 2013 through the initiative and mediation of Eurochambres, had 15 technical dialogues whose aim is to pragmatically resolve issues of interest for both economies in order to facilitate trade and attract more investments "reminded Sertić, who was a president of the" Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia "at the time when the dialogue began.

Blerind Stavileci, Minister for Economic Development, pointed out that the implementation of joint plans of Belgrade and Priština should prove to the world that our region is committed to economic development, and as the most important development initiative led the Berlin process. According to him, the priority for the region should be economic development and technology provides numerous opportunities especially for young people and enhances the economy. In this regard, it was announced the opening of the Center for Technology and Informatics for all young people in the Balkans.

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Đuric pointed out that Belgrade and Priština are now united around the same problems, such as poor economic conditions, huge unemployment, system problems of functioning of institutions, but also problems that could be overcome only through cooperation. Cooperation between chambers of commerce and business entities represent a beacon, a pioneering venture in the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština, he said.

In the Business Forum, President of the "Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia" Marko Čadež and President of " Kosovo Chamber of Commerce " Safet Grdžaliju signed an agreement on cooperation in the energy sector – electro machinery and the Agreement on cooperation in the field of construction and building materials industry. Two workshops for businessmen were held- the first dedicated to business environment and investment framework, and the other one was dedicated to free trade in goods and services. Businessmen got the answers from the representatives of Customs Administration, the Medicines Agency, the Veterinary Administration and other relevant institutions on important questions about the simplification of procedures necessary for more efficient doing business. It was pointed out to the need to be resolved outstanding issues related to the further harmonization of veterinary certificates, transport of excise goods, transport of dangerous goods, registration of drugs and medical devices and others. Resolving will be the focus of the next meetings on the technical dialogue between two chambers. Safet Gradžaliju handed to Marko Čadež, acknowledgment plaques to "The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia“ for its contribution to the promotion of regional cooperation, support to the economic dialogue and acceleration of the integration of the region and improvment of the overall business climate. The first Business Forum of businessmen from Serbia and Kosovo * was organized on 9 May 2015 in Priština and it was attended by nearly one hundred companies and entrepreneurs from different sectors.