Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations attends a Civic Forum during the Western Balkans Summit in Trieste, Italy on July 12, 2017.

Inauguration of the Western Balkans Chambers Investment Forum’s Secretariat

The Western Balkans Chambers Investment Forum (WBCIF) has inaugurated its Secretariat today in Trieste, in the margin of the WB6 Summit.

WB CIF represents the voice of over 350,000 companies from the region, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises. The platform serves the purpose of intensifying inter-chamber cooperation in view of fostering business linkages within the region and beyond.

The establishment of a Secretariat of the WBCIF will allow the organisation to increase significantly its operational capacities, including:

– serving as the voice of the business community of the region, advocating its positions in public-private dialogue with national authorities;

– providing services to SMEs to facilitate their access to finance, access to market (particularly within the region) and increasing their business skills;

– monitoring, on behalf of the private sector of the region, the implementation of the Action Plan, adopted today in Trieste, towards the establishment of the Regional Economic Area.

By doing so, WBCIF will contribute to removing obstacles to economic regional integration and to the sustainable development of the Western Balkans in the context of the EU integration, notably by fostering the improvement of business and investment climate in the region.

Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for the Western Balkans, European Commission, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, stated during the inauguration ceremony:

“The inauguration of the Secretariat of the Western Balkans Chambers Investment Forum today in Trieste is a very positive signal: it shows how serious the business community of the Western Balkans is to make sure political commitments for deeper and wider regional economic integration do not stay only declarations.

We are ready to accompany WBCIF in its role; and these are not just words: the Commission intends to provide €2 million grant next year to the Secretariat to kick start its operations.”