Improving the competitiveness of the region by harmonizing the investment policies of the economies of the six Western Balkan countries with EU standards and best international practices, strengthening public-private dialogue, and involving all relevant factors in the decision-making process are part of the conclusions of the first high-level forum on the topic: Investment policies focusing on the RIA agenda for the Western Balkans, in the direction of successful implementation of the Regional Investment Reform Agenda for Western B alkane. The goal of the Regional Investment Plan for the Western Balkans is to harmonize investment policies with the European Union standards and the best international practices within the South East Europe 2020 Strategy, the CEFTA Treaty and the EU accession processes.

The President of the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce, Danela Arsovska, emphasized that the Union is actively involved in the processes of implementation of the structural economic reforms in the country, and in this direction the RIRA agenda should bring visible economic results in the near future.

“Improving the attractiveness of the region for investors and strengthening the links between the countries of the Western Balkans, creating new jobs, attracting new foreign direct investments that will bring knowledge transfer and technology, increasing direct support for entrepreneurship and innovation would be the results of the successful implementation of the RIRA agenda, which is a conclusion from the initiative of the Berlin Process, related to the future enlargements of the European Union. Among the priorities for creating a good business environment is the removal of barriers to trade, reducing company costs, simplifying procedures for doing business, enabling export growth, and all this in conditions of stability and rule of law as prerequisites for increasing the competitiveness of the Western Balkan region. The inclusion of all relevant parties is the best and only way that produces good reforms for economic development and it is therefore necessary to make every effort to merge the institutional impact with practical experience, “said Arsovska, adding that all this is foreseen to be achieved in several stages to achieve common understanding and cooperation among the 6 countries in the Western Balkans regarding the formulation and implementation of the reform agenda.

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Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General of the Regional Co-operation Council (RCC) and former foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia stressed that the successful implementation of the RIERA agenda is a chance for the Western Balkans to be part of the EU.

“Every economy should not be competing with each other, but an integrated approach to investors is needed. Acting as a single market, the opportunities for attracting large and serious investors are greater. Implementing the RIERA agenda is preparation for entering the big European market, “Svilanovic said.

Professor Vakun Uzunov said that we should consider the long-term, because the current way of attracting foreign investors has no future and added that investors are present as long as the state stimulates them financially.

Maria Risteska, executive director of the Center for Research and Policy Making, emphasized that all parties in the process should cooperate in order to promote the investment policy and create opportunities for increasing the competitiveness of Macedonian companies.

The Forum is organized by the Center for Research and Policy Making in cooperation with the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce within the framework of the regional project on the RIRA agenda “Establishing Dialogue on the Regional Investment Agenda between Government Institutions, Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations”, which is implemented in 6 countries from the Western Balkans.