Budva, Montenegro (24 September 2014) – Fresh initiative on the Western Balkan launched by Germany and the European Union boosts hope for the objectives of the Conference on the Western Balkans, which was took place late September in Berlin, are to be achieved, Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Đukanović noted Wednesday in Budva at the opening of the conference entitled “Economy – Linking Basis for Western Balkans”. It also create prerequisites for the region to be presented as an attractive investment environment as well for the start of closer cooperation, though joint cross-border projects, in promoting regional economic development, he added at the conference sponsored by Montenegro’s Chamber of Commerce and the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.
There is a lot of work to be done for the Western Balkan’s countries, although never before in its history, the Balkans has not been a better and more stable place for living and doing business, PM Đukanović stated.
“Economic growth is unstable, although it was at the average level of 2.2% last year. Social and overall situation is burdened with high unemployment rates of above 20 % on average, PM Đukanović said.
It is estimated, in his words, that the region’s economy will increase 1.9% this year and 2.6 % in 2015.
“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that since the beginning 2014, the economy of the region has been faced strong deflationary pressure. In addition, large floods in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and partly in Croatia, has had an extremely negative impact on the economy of the region,” the Prime Minister underscored.
He added that economic growth cannot be provided be without addressing the bottlenecks in the infrastructure of the region.
“Countries of the region are not able to resolve all deficit problems on their own, the issues of low budgets and high indebtedness. Model of public-private partnerships in financing infrastructure has almost faded out,” Prime Minister Đukanović stressed.
PM Đukanović took the view that the abundant investment framework for the Western Balkans should be created right now. It would be aimed at linking the region in terms of infrastructure and key European corridors.
“It is crucial to design, with the support of the EU, a strategic programme of major investments in regional infrastructure in the fields of transport, energy, information technology, knowledge, which would result in the creation of new jobs,” PM Đukanović emphasised.
Such a common strategy would allow not only the construction of major road, rail and power corridors of regional and wider significance, but also a steady way towards faster development of the region and its essential Europeanisation.
“Our region will become more competitive, productive and attractive for investors, if our states, each one its own house, implement decisive and radical structural reforms,” Montenegro’s Prime Minister concluded.
Source: Government of Montenegro