WBIF and WB EDIF Held Meetings in Berlin

Berlin, 10 - 12 June 2014 – The South East Europe and Turkey, Division Financial Sector Development, hosted the Fourth Meeting of the WB EDIF Platform Advisory Group, which focused on supporting SMEs’ access to finance, while the German Federal Ministry of Finance, in cooperation with the European Commission, hosted a two-day Tenth Meeting of the WBIF Steering Committee in Berlin, Germany.

The WBIF Steering Committee’s discussions centred on the future focus areas such as, the need for an improved Economic Governance in the WB region which is defined within the new Strategy for Enlargement presented at the end of 2013 by the Commissioner for Enlargement. The objective of this strategy is to prepare the Pre-Accession Countries for the European Semester. Based on this, the countries are required to prepare two national programmes: The National Economic Reform Programme and the Competiveness and Growth Programme.

During the meeting, all WBIF stakeholders agreed that future projects and efforts should be streamlined in investing for the future with sustainable growth and jobs. It was also stated that in order to achieve these goals there is a need to attract more FDI’s, however, prior to this, there is a need to prepare the conditions for prosperity with growth and jobs. This platform represents a unique forum for coordinating the stakeholders and donors’ efforts in order to achieve the set objectives.

The level of implementation of the Danube, Adriatic-Ionian (possibly including Turkey) and SEE2020 Macro-Regional Strategies were also points of discussions.

Mr Gerhard Schumann-Hitzler, Director, DG Enlargement, European Commission, mentioned that the next round of infrastructure projects, supported by WBIF, among which is also the next phase of the SEECEL Project, have been approved. Furthermore, SEECEL was declared as a best practice to be followed, in terms of maturity of application, its presentation, supported by a video, concluded Mr Hitzler. On behalf of SEECEL, Ms Efka Heder, SEECEL’s Director informed the Members of the Committee of SEECEL’s activities and thanked the Committee for their continued support.

The Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts of the Republic of Croatia was represented at the meetings by Ms Željka Mrkša.