Subscribe to our newsletter

Connecting The Region 2023 no. 1

Articles

By Professor Milica Uvalić, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

From ‘Ifs’ To Rational Choices

Regional cooperation has been an important condition for evaluating the progress of the Western Balkan countries in their EU accession process for several decades,...

Olivér Várhelyi, European Commissioner For Neighbourhood And Enlargement

Growth plan

We believe that, with this new model, we can integrate the Western Balkans into our Single Market faster, even prior to full EU membership....

Countries Overview

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Digital Nomads Needed

BiH is a republic, though it doesn’t function as such. Instead of a single president, it has a Presidency consisting of three members representing...

Albania

Windfarms Would Bring Advances

The Republic of Albania is headed by President Bajram Begaj, a retired army major general and former Chief of the General Staff of the...

Croatia

Outstanding Potential Of Geothermal Sources

The Republic of Croatia is headed by President Zoran Milanović, a former leader of the Social Democratic Party, while its government is led by...

Kosovo*

Rural Ecotourism Development Opportunity

Kosovo’s independence has to date been recognised by 98 UN member states, though it has not been recognised by 97 countries, including five EU...

Montenegro

Health Tourism Boosts Visitor Numbers

The country’s president is Jakov Milatović, a member of the ‘Europe Now!’ party, while since October 2023 the prime minister has been Milojko Spajić,...

North Macedonia

Preserved Nature Could Entice Tourists

Its road to EU membership was initially blocked by Greece due to a dispute over the country’s name, while it is now being obstructed...

Slovenia

Never Enough Tourism Capacities

Slovenia’s president is lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar, who ran as an independent candidate and a representative of the left-liberal camp, while the country’s government...

Serbia

Strong Returns From Investing In Both Agriculture And It

The state is headed by President Aleksandar Vučić, who led the Serbian Progressive Party until recently and is currently in the second year of...

Geri Kolgega, Journalist

Fostering Regional Cooperation

Albania has been following and maintaining a standard when it comes to regional cooperation, as a country that’s always among the first to adopt...

Nermin Nikšić, Prime Minister Of The Federation Of Bosnia And Herzegovina

No Alternative To Regional Cooperation

Let’s put our differences aside and work together to recover, raise economic parameters and utilise our comparative advantages - Nermin Nikšić The legacy of the...

Zdravko Marinković, President Of The Foreign Trade Chamber Of Bosnia-Herzegovina

Stronger Strides Needed

Despite Bosnia-Herzegovina having to date achieved only modest results in terms of attracting foreign investments and transfers of new technology, space is opening up...

Armin Zeba, Journalist and Editor

Potential Awaiting Realisation

The issue of regional economic cooperation has been discussed in Bosnia-Herzegovina for decades. In declarative terms, everyone favours the strengthening of this kind of...

Michela Telatin Ph.D., UNOPS Representative In Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro

Focused On Regional Cooperation

UNOPS is a project-based and outcome-oriented United Nations organisation. The UNOPS office headquartered in Serbia covers the organisation’s operations across four Western Balkan countries With...

Luka Burilović, President Of The Croatian Chamber Of Commerce

Knowledge Sharing Is Our Goal

In aspiring EU member states, the transfer of knowledge is key to integration, creating substantial potential for regional cooperation between chambers of commerce Implementing the...

Adriano Milovan, Journalist

Interests Form The Basis Of Cooperation

The term “Western Balkans” was coined in diplomatic circles during the mid-90s, when proposals for the stabilisation of the territory of the former Yugoslavia...

Dr Thorsten Klose-Zuber, Secretary General, Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.v.

Empowering Regional Collaboration

Help’s strategy in the Western Balkans extends beyond emergency aid, incorporating the transformative power of regional collaboration in addressing humanitarian, social and economic challenges...

Jelena Galić, AIK Banka CEO

Supporting Regional Growth Through Innovations And Green Finance

Here we discuss with AIK Banka CEO Jelena Galić how large banks and banking groups across the region have adapted to the challenges of...

UNIQA

Community For A Better Living

As a leader of innovation, UNIQA is a brand that’s trusted in Serbia by more than 800,000 individual and corporate clients. The company is...

Kristina Milinčić, Sava Centar CEO

Faithful To Tradition, Oriented To The Future

Instead of the promised 50 million euros, more than 118 million euros has been invested in the reconstruction works. And the result is the...

Nikola Tripković, Executive Director At Coca-Cola HBC Montenegro

Celebrating 20 Years Of Coca-Cola HBC Montenegro

We’ve raised standards in the hospitality and retail sectors, which are particularly important in countries like ours, where tourism is one of the main...

Filip Simović, CEO, M&M Militzer & Münch Serbia

Teamwork Forms The Essence Of Succes

Key to the company’s growth have been the people whose knowledge and experience have contributed to the its rapid expansion. They are currently focused...

SŽ-Tovorni promet, d.o.o.

Customer Expectations Always Come First

SŽ Tovorni promet is the largest railway carrier of goods in Slovenia and one of the leading carriers in the region. It is a...

Ana Bajagić, Marketing & Pr Manager, Balkan Area, EPSON

Pushing The Boundaries Of Technology

Epson is a company that invests approximately 1.14 million euros in research and development every single day, which reflects just how important innovation is...

Milica Uraz, CEO, Steel Impex

Always A Step Ahead

Here we speak with company CEO Milica Uraz about the importance of recycling, investments in innovation aimed at preserving the environment and the planet,...

Paul Cronin, CEO & Managing Director Of Adriatic Metals Plc

Prioritising Health And Safety

The approach of Adriatic Metals Plc involves engaging with the local population, understanding their aspirations and shaping mining projects accordingly. Despite its significant economic...

Doinita Mihai, Vice President Public Affairs, Eastern Europe South TOMRA

Immediate Collaborative Approach Required

The waste crisis extends beyond all borders, impacting the health of citizens and wildlife. The scope and scale of this global issue must be...

Marijanti Babic, Country Head For Rio Tinto Serbia

No Green And Digital Transitions Without Mining

Electrifying transport and developing sustainable batteries are vital components of the energy transition. Electric vehicles and energy storage need batteries, and batteries need materials...

Nina Dusper Sušić, Country Managing Director At Hitachi Energy d.o.o.

Creating A Carbon -Free Future

Hitachi Energy has placed sustainability at the heart of its Purpose and made a promise to advance a sustainable energy future for all. Sustainability...

Jelena Knežević, LeitnerLeitner Partner, Serbia – Belgrade

We Bring Life to Complexity

During that period, Serbia has implemented various economic reforms aimed at improving its business environment, attracting foreign investment and strengthening its economy. These reforms...

LeitnerLeitner

Viewing the EntireRegion as a Local Market

LeitnerLeitner is one of Central and Southeast Europe’s leading firms of tax professionals, auditors and financial advisory experts, having amassed vast experience in supporting...

Pavo Ðedović, LeitnerLeitner, Partner, Croatia – Zagreb

Able To Solve The Problems Of Each Client

In general, when dealing with clients’ needs, we follow two approaches: an interdisciplinary approach and an international approach. By taking interdisciplinary approach to tackling...

Blaž Pate, LeitnerLeitner, Partner, Slovenia - Ljubljana

We Represent A “One- Stop Shop” For Our Clients

At the same time, we also offer legal services (focusing on business law) within the scope of LeitnerLaw. Accordingly, we represent a “onestop shop”...

Marko Carević, CEO, Ananas E-commerce

The Only Genuine Marketplace

We launched Ananas in order to show that we ‘can’, that we have no excuses. All our resources are directed precisely towards that, towards...

Denis Ampov, Country Manager At Ananas.mk

Strong Driver Of Development

A part from undoubtedly becoming a key player in the e-commerce domain, Ananas.mk has the ambition of contributing, with the support of Delta Holding,...

Sanja Pešić, Alma Quattro CEO

Networking The City

Networking is perhaps the word that marked the last 10 years of business operations, labour and the development of all industries, including ours. Out-of-home...

Ljiljana Ahmetović, CEO, Shoppster Srbija & Slovenija

Top Online Shopping Experience

After breaking the ice on our market and demonstrating that it is possible to establish and run a successful pure e-commerce business, this company’s...

Huawei Digital Power

New Infrastructure For The Digital Energy Era

Huawei is applying its technology and telecommunications expertise to green energy innovation, paving the way for a more successful and faster digital transformation that...

Akton Group

Connecting The Adriatic And The World

The AKTON Group network was actually created to connect this region with the world. AKTON Group interconnections in Vienna, Frankfurt, Sofia and Milan provide...

Viktorija Zadro-Huml, Takeda Country Head For Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia And Herzegovina

Committed To Patients And Science

Takeda mission is to strive towards better health for people worldwide, including in our region. In fiscal year 2022, the company’s R&D investment totalled...

Milena Argirović, Takeda Country Head For Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo

Partnership Is The New Leadership

Takeda partners with various stakeholders in the Western Balkans in order to optimise healthcare ecosystems. We spoke with Takeda’s general manager for Western Balkan...

Mohamed Hammam, Adriatic Country Manager, Pfizer

Playing A Pivotal And Profound Role

We remain optimistic about prospects in the Adriatic region, and we are committed to investing and partnering with local stakeholders to foster an environment...

Ronald Seeliger, Hemofarm Group CEO

No Compromise On Quality

One of Hemofarm’s strategic development goals is to constantly improve its portfolio and continuously supply the market with high-quality products of the latest generation,...

Nenad Andrejić, General Manager Of Analysis Laboratory Equipment

Reliable Partner to the Entire Region

Whether intended for testing, research, quality control, or process monitoring, the company’s solutions find applications in all industrial sectors, in science, and private laboratories....

Jelena Nikolić, Cluster Head Western Balkans, Country Head Serbia And Montenegro, Zentiva

A Success Story Of Cluster Building, Resilience And Exceptional Cooperation

In April 2020, Zentiva Pharma took over the central and eastern region of Alvogen, marking the beginning of its operations in Serbia. The established...

Maria Boldor, Horváth Consulting

It Pays Off To Prioritise ESG

Serbian companies must show their clients, employees, business partners, investors and other parties how ESG measures are implemented and the goals that they achieve,...

Tijana Škorić Tomić, Gorda, Co-Founder And CEO

A Story Worth Telling

Life is made up of a series of minor and major events, those that we commemorate and those that bring us together. And we...

Jelena Andrić Grafakos, Managing Director ACO Eastern Europe Adriatic Group

Raising Awareness And Developing Solutions

ACO is one of the world’s leading water technology companies, particularly for rainwater and wastewater management. Our mission is embodied in our claim: “ACO....

Marko Tanazević, CEO, Delight Holding

Oriented Towards Further Regional Expansion

Delight Holding represents a group of companies with complementary core businesses that has been present on the market for more than two decades. This...

Bojan Švonja, Sales Director for Serbia and Export Markets at Bekament

From Local Success To Regional Expansion

This Aranđelovac-based giant welcomed the construction sector’s expansion in a state of readiness, with new automated plants and capacities capable of responding to the...

Roman Kratochvil, CE Industries Business Partner & Beohemija d.o.o. CEO

Quality Brings New Markets

In this interview for Connecting the Region, Roman Kratochvil discusses the business results of the company he leads and shares a portion of the...

University of Donja Gorica

Responsible Citizens, Global Ambassadors: UDG Graduates In Action

In honour of the first generation of students, who enrolled in the University of Donja Gorica as far back as 2007, a formal diploma...

Prokopije Perić, CEO, Plus d.o.o. Podgorica

Far Ahead Of Everyone

We paid over 40 million euros into the budget in 2022, in the form of excise duties on tobacco products,” says CEO Prokopije Perić,...

Lulzim Rafuna, President Of The Kosovo Chamber Of Commerce

Building Bridges Together

Western Balkan nations could entice FDI by offering cost-effective operations, skilling the workforce, improving infrastructure, streamlining regulations, ensuring stability and providing incentives for foreign...

Idro Seferi, Journalist

Navigating Regional Challenges

Despite challenges, the economy of Kosovo* has made notable strides in recent years. The country’s young people and educated are its engine and workforce...

Nina Drakić, President Of The Chamber Of Commerce Of Montenegro

No Success Without Great Effort

In order for the countries of the region to utilise nearshoring opportunities, continuous work and commitment are needed from both the public and private...

Nada Stojanović, Journalist

Love At Arm’s Length

Despite the praise heaped on Montenegro, when the time comes to “add and subtract” the real balance of progress towards the European Union, it...

Dimitar Kovačevski, Prime Minister Of North Macedonia

European Quality Of Life At Home

In order to provide for a better life and better living standards, we need growing economies and the improvement of democratic processes in our...

Branko Azeski, President Of The Chamber Of Commerce Of North Macedonia

Simple Formula, Difficult Application

In order to boost the attractiveness of the region to investors, we need infrastructure improvements and the removal of hurdles at border crossings and...

Tatjana Shterjova Dushkovska, Secretary General Of WB6 CIF

New Value Proposition Required

Over recent decades, geographical position and free access to key markets, combined with low wages and favourable tax systems and investment incentives, have been...

Dejan Azeski, Journalist

Great, But Not (Yet) Working

North Macedonians, as irredeemable Yugoslavs, welcomed the idea of the region’s reunification (albeit only on an economic basis) with open arms. Although the majority...

Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister Of Serbia

Regional Cooperation Is A Top Priority

There is an intricate link between a resilient, stable nation and a well-connected region, given the potential for shared prosperity and stability when neighbouring...

Slobodan Cvetković, Minister Of Economy Of Serbia

Overcoming Barriers And Embracing Opportunities

Investors in the Western Balkans can access a 20-million-strong consumer base and cross-border value chain prospects, thus bolstering the region’s economic attractiveness and EU...

Marko Čadež, President Of The Chamber Of Commerce & Industry Of Serbia, CCIS

Let’s Be Better For Ourselves And Others

Joining the European common market would render our region more attractive in the eyes of both investors and supply chain buyers, and would create...

Wholeheartedly For The Region

The eight economies of this region – six from the Western Balkans, plus Slovenia and Croatia – that have a combined population of 23...

Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister And Minister Of Foreign Affairs Of The Republic Of Slovenia

Echo Of The “Bled Pledge”

The strong message of European Council President Charles Michel at the Bled Strategic Forum 2023 that both the EU and the Western Balkans should...

Matjaž Han, Slovenian Minister Of Economic Development And Technology

Strong Support

Slovenia is actively engaged in facilitating the swift expansion of the EU to include the Western Balkans. However, the pace of this convergence is...

Tibor Šimonka, President Of The Chamber Of Commerce And Industry Of Slovenia

The Green Deal Represents A Complex Endeavour

New sustainability reporting demands will necessitate enhanced efforts across businesses for transparent implementation, impacting not only larger EU companies, but also Western Balkan partners...

Novica Mihajlović, Journalist

A Scandinavia-like Balkans? Why Not?

If you were to enter into Google the words ‘Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and war’, this American creation and global tool for searching...

How Art Shapes Our Region?

Transformative Threads

How powerful is the language of art when it comes to fostering mutual connections, understanding and inspiration within the region? In which realm does...

Natalija Vujošević Artist, Curator Of The Centre For Contemporary Art Of Montenegro

Guardians Of The Fire

Best illustrating the power of the language of art to create connections and understanding in the region is the fact that it not only...

Senka Ibrišimbegović, Assistant Professor At The University Of Sarajevo Faculty Of Architecture

Exploring The Past, Shaping The Future

The process of developing Sarajevo’s Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art was strongly motivated by the idea of creating a collection that fosters connections...

Blaž Peršin, Director Of The Museum And Galleries Of Ljubljana, MGML

Using Culture To Oppose Fear

We need the language of art today more than ever. During this time of incomprehensibly swift change, accumulated problems, wars and tensions, which are...

Blagoja Varoshanec, Museum Of Contemporary Art, Skopje

Spaces Of Freedom

The language of art is incredibly powerful when it comes to building mutual connections, understanding and inspiration in the region. Art has a unique...

Zorana Djaković, Minniti, Associate Director Of Programming At The Cultural Centre Of Belgrade

Hidden Bridges

The question is whether we are capable of overcoming the dictates of public opinion and boundaries between groups, politics and economics in order for...