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26 June 2023

The Poland-Western Balkans Business Meeting

The countries of the Western Balkans are open to cooperation with Poland and interested in mutual support in the development of their economies. Poland is one of their key partners and as such is perceived as becoming more and more attractive in terms of business. It is important to take advantage of the moment conducive to strengthening relationships. These are the most important conclusions from the Poland-Western Balkans Business Meeting, which took place today in Krakow with the participation of representatives of North Macedonia, Serbia, the Republic of Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro.

The Poland-Western Balkans Business Meeting

During the opening of the meeting, PAIH’s Management Board Member Grzegorz Oszast spoke about the rapid pace of development of the Polish economy, its stability and thus the great potential for cooperation. At the same time, he emphasized the attractiveness of what Polish companies had to offer from all sectors of the economy and the possibility of PAIH's assistance in the entire process of establishing business relations.

Despite various global turbulences, first the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and later Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the Polish economy is stable and constantly developing. This is due to the innovativeness and flexibility of Polish companies, but also to the environment conducive to business and the support provided it - said Grzegorz Oszast.

Paweł Gębski, Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reminded that Poland, as part of international relations, focuses on subjective relations with other countries, and economic contacts are accompanied by diplomatic relations.

We treat countries not only as potential markets, but as partners. This is the case, for example, within the framework of the Three Seas Initiative. We believe in the possibility of extending this cooperation to other countries, including the Western Balkans. We want to use our technologies to build the region's independence in the field of cybersecurity and digital technologies - said Paweł Gębski.

Representatives of individual countries expressed their satisfaction with the opportunity to meet with the countries of the region. They emphasized the importance of relations with Poland and satisfaction with the interest in increasing trade.

The Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Her Excellency Koviljka Spirić spoke about the path of her country's development and economic dependencies in the region, as well as the key role of international partnerships that need to be built. As she said, one of the challenges is transformation. At the same time, she appreciated the Three Seas initiative. The importance of developing relations with Poland was also discussed by the Ambassador of Kosovo, Her Excellency Albesiana Ibersyhaj from the Kosovo Embassy in Prague. A similar opinion was expressed by the representative of Albania, the First Secretary of the Embassy Mr. Shkelzen Macukulli, who in his speech mentioned how Albania appreciated Poland’s support for his country on the way to accession to the European Union.

We are open to increasing cooperation. Today's meeting is a great opportunity for this - said Shkelzen Macukulli.

Charge D'Affaires of the Embassy of Montenegro, Mr. Aleksandar Drljević stressed that, like Bosnia and Herzegovina, his country is also seeking accession to the European Union. Montenegro wants to strengthen relations with Poland, which is the leader of the region. He stressed that now is the right time to improve economic exchange, among other things, thanks to the development of transport infrastructure, which is a key factor for the economic development of the Southern Balkans.

We want to show Poland as an example of a country developing perfectly in the EU and building its position - said Aleksandar Drljević.

As the Ambassador of Macedonia Mr. Ilija Psaltirov emphasized, economic development requires political stability. From this perspective, progress in the EU accession process is important for Macedonia. He also informed that Poland is one of the leading partners in some sectors of the economy.

The current situation of Russian aggression should persuade the European Union to create new tools to accelerate the development of domestic economies. We need very strong support in the process of faster integration, which will allow us to develop economically. We must focus on sectors such as IT, green energy, which, similarly as for Poland, are very important directions of development for Macedonia - said Ilija Psaltirov.

The Honorary Consul of Serbia, Mr. Ranko Tomović, emphasized the rapid development of Serbia’s national economy and the growing trade exchange with Poland from year to year.

The pace of this growth is very satisfying. Polish companies are eager to invest in projects in Serbia. The Serbian Government gives foreign investors very favorable conditions - said Ranko Tomović.

The representative of Serbia stressed the importance of Special Economic Zones for economic development, operating on a similar basis as the zones in Poland. He also added that direct contacts between Polish representatives in Serbia and local Ministries are of great importance for Polish-Serbian relations.

The session was also attended by Anna Pochwała from the Department of Trade and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Development and Technology. She presented the benefits of cooperation with Polish companies and the administration, and encouraged participants to contact both PAIH and the Ministry.

The participants, pointed to Poland as one of their key partners in Europe due to a similar perception of business, but also a similar culturally in the non-business sense. It was repeatedly emphasized that the current moment is crucial for strengthening economic cooperation between our countries and the removal of obstacles.

Wioleta Lewandowska, Deputy Director in the Export Department presented PAIH’s scope of activities. In addition to presenting the possibilities of cooperation and support of business processes by the Agency, she also informed about other agencies operating within the Polish Development Fund. The participants also heard presentations by several Polish companies from the green technology, chemical, agricultural and food industries, waste management technologies, cosmetics and banking sectors. The event was followed by a networking session.

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