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Belgrade Hosts Second “Wine Vision of the Open Balkans” Expo

The second "Wine Vision of the Open Balkans" expo, a significant event for wine, food, and tourism, has commenced at the Belgrade Fair, supported by the governments of Serbia, North Macedonia, and Albania, within the "Open Balkan" initiative framework.

This expo, running through November 19th, showcases over 600 exhibitors from almost 30 countries. Half of these exhibitors represent the Open Balkan member countries, including 260 from Serbia, 74 from North Macedonia, and 21 from Albania.

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vučić, expressed his pleasure with the high participation from national and international exhibitors. He thanked the officials from North Macedonia and Albania for their support, noting that the “Open Balkan” initiative has become a significant wine platform serving a market of 20 million consumers. Vucic announced further subsidies for vineyard expansions, highlighting the rapid growth of local wineries in this region and worldwide.

Montenegro’s President, Jakov Milatović, addressing the opening ceremony, emphasized the expo’s role in demonstrating the Western Balkan region’s collaborative spirit and market expansion capabilities to the world. He expressed gratitude to President Vucic for representing Montenegro, describing it as a small but sun-kissed Mediterranean country proud of its wine heritage. Milatovic praised the benefits of open and cooperative relationships within the Balkans.

North Macedonia’s Prime Minister, Dimitri Kovacevski, remarked that the International Wine Vision of the Open Balkans Expo is a vital stimulant for the economies of the region, fostering development paths. He highlighted successful collaborations in toll collection, expedited truck flow, and initiatives in culture and tourism as steps toward building friendly relations and trust among neighboring states and advancing towards European integration.

Kovacevski pointed out the initiative’s tangible results, with a 25% increase in trade exchange among Serbia, North Macedonia, and Albania. The trade between Serbia and North Macedonia alone exceeded 1.1 billion euros, marking the highest trade volume in the past 18 years, with a 40% increase just last year. He stressed the benefits of this increased trade exchange for citizens and the surrounding regions.

“This expo is not just an ordinary event, but an opportunity to demonstrate that united, we can develop our economies as partners,” Kovacevski stated, emphasizing North Macedonia’s significant global position in wine export despite its small size.

Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, conveyed via video message the necessity of fostering neighborly relations and a community-oriented future for the Western Balkan region. “Let’s work together to transform our region into a harmonious place for our children’s future,” Rama encouraged.

Organizers have arranged over 3,000 meetings for professionals, buyers, and sommeliers to explore business avenues for regional winemakers.

Additionally, the expo will feature discussions on the new EU regulations for wine labeling, viticulture in the digital era, and the future of sustainable winemaking, expecting a significant increase in professional visitors compared to the previous year.

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