Balkan leaders agree they can create prosperity if the region reconciles historical differences, acting as a unified bloc
Meeting at a summit in New York last week, Balkan leaders delivered a strong message in favour of regional reconciliation and co-operation, despite lingering differences.
The third annual Federation of Balkan American Associations (FEBA) conference brought together the prime ministers of Turkey, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, BiH and Kosovo. Students and members of the diaspora were among the nearly 2,000 guests attending the event, dubbed "Road Map 2011 -- Milestones to Achieving Common Ground".
"There are millions of Balkan peoples abroad and we do not want to lose them," EBA president Aras Konjhodzic told SETimes, describing the diaspora as particularly important in the creation of prosperity in the Balkans.
At an afternoon business forum, economic experts stressed the role of Turkey as a regional engine of growth but disagreed about the fate of the eurozone and the EU itself.
Turkey's Central Bank Governor Ibrahim Turhan explained that emerging markets -- such as those in the Balkans -- will play an increasingly significant role. Such markets, he said, tend to be concerned more with economic stability than with growth.
"When compared to the advanced markets, the policies in the emerging markets are stronger and more promising," Turhan told SETimes.
According to Turhan, the Balkans' dynamism and economic promise provides all the basis for the region to contribute positively to the EU.
"For this to happen, co-operation among the Balkan countries is key, and we should take all available opportunities for networking, such as this conference, to build stronger ties and co-operation, particularly on a regional basis," Turhan said.
The summit's evening portion began with the prime ministers entering the Javitz Centre amid thunderous applause.
"This is by far the best and largest Balkan gathering of all my life. I salute you," Albania's Sali Berisha said.
As an example of the region's economic dynamism, Berisha cited Albania's Free Trade Agreement with Turkey, signed four years ago. "In the period 2005-10, trade has increased four times, a clear win-win situation for everybody." He listed energy and tourism as two most desirable areas for investment and development.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, stressed his country's historic ties with the Balkan countries, noting that millions of citizens of Balkan heritage are living in Turkey.
"This means everything related to the Balkans is of interest to us," Erdogan said.
In an interview with SETimes, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said the event symbolises the region's commitment to co-operation, calling it a visionary idea in itself.
"The challenge consists of how to adapt ourselves more rapidly and more efficiently," he said, adding that "only jointly we can respond to the citizen's demands for prosperity."
Regarding efforts to improve the investment climate, Gruevski told SETimes that Macedonia is not doing anything now that it had not started already, including opening free economic zones for investors, as a result of which the country's economic growth reached 5.2%.
"Macedonia has lowest taxes and investment-related costs and a well-educated labour force as a result of which the investment interest continues to grow. For example, Johnson Controls returned to invest again; it listed the great conditions offered, educated labour force as well as excellent communication with government institutions as the reasons," Gruevski told SETimes.
- Provided by Southeast European Times
- Hard Facts: The World Is Getting Better
- United Nations Can't Save the Oppressed, But It Can Give Them a Voice
- Obama's International Outsourcing
- Radical Islamist Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in Yemen
- Anwar Al-Awlaki's Death Major Victory For Counter-Terrorism
- United States Gaze Turns to Uzbeks
- Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History
- German Parliament Approves Hike in EU Loan Guarantees
- Preparing for Greece's Failure
- Despite Austerity Measures Greece Will Still Miss EU Budget Cut Targets
- Greece Working to Convince EU it Can Meet Austerity Demands
- Greek Parliament Approves New Property Tax
- Greeks to Face Further Tough Measures
- Albania's Unsettled Past
- Balkans Summit Extols Regional Co-Operation
- Erdogan Pushes for Common Future with Balkan States
- Turkey's Sinking Lira Defies Soaring Economy
- Kukan: Dialogue Not Barricades
- Arab Spring Turkish Harvest
- Iran at a Crossroads
- Iran's Support of Syria Is Backfiring
- The Mottled Relationship: Iran and Latin America
- Is It a Mistake to Draw Solace From Iran's Long Bomb Gestation Period?
- Arab Spring Added Pressures to Middle East Peace Process
- Israel Accepts Quartet Proposal to Resume Peace Talks
- Blocking Palestinian Statehood
- The Occupation That Time Forgot
- Israeli Parliamentarians Call for Annexation of West Bank
- U.S. Congress: Standard Bearer for Israeli Expansion
- Michele Bachmann 'Blames' Obama for Arab Spring
- Saudis Tussle Over Textbook
- Saudi Arabia Grants Women Limited Right to Vote
- Egypt Eyes New Arms Suppliers
- Saleh Return Deepens Crisis In Yemen
- Other Leaders Should Copy Brazil's Anti-graft Measures
- Obama's U.N. Omission: The War Next Door
- The Drug War Spreads the Bloodbath South
- Mexican Cartels and Pan American Games: A Threat Assessment
- Mexico: Death by Social Media
- Big Agriculture's Latin American Exploits
- Is Free Trade Good for Colombia
- China in Search of Energy Security
- Cuba's Domestic Reforms Surge Past Immobilized United States
- Fears Over Environmental Affects Prompt Court To Halt Mega-Dam Project
- Bolivian Workers Strike to Protest Controversial Highway
- Afghanistan is Obama's Gordian Knot
- Why Are Pakistan's Militant Groups Splintering?
- Questions Raised About Haqqani Network Ties with Pakistan
- Russia Strives to Clarify Vision for Central Asian Alliance
- Azerbaijan Faces Difficult Choice Between Turkey and Israel
- Azerbaijan Wrestles with Iranian Predicament
- In Post-Soviet Central Asia Russian Takes Back Seat
- Stabilizing Congo
- The Balkanization of Somalia
- Refugees Still Vulnerable in Southern Kordofan
- Al Shabaab Attacks Kill 16 at Key Somali Border Town
- Is Africa New Breeding Place for Terrorism?
- Somali Media Press on with Work Despite Deadly Challenges
- China-Indian Trade: Smoothening the Rough Edges
- The Survival of North Korea
- The 'Orchid Revolution' in Singapore
- Counterinsurgency and 'Op Sadhbhavana' in Jammu and Kashmir
- Indian Foreign Policy in Search of a Balance
- Philippines Struggles After Two Typhoons
- Typhoon Nesat Death Toll Rises to 20
- Turkey's Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy
- Germany and the US: Toward a 'Special Relationship'?
- Britain - Russia: Beyond Politics
- Central Banks Lend Dollars to European Banks
- Eurozone Pushes Greece to Speed Up Economic Reforms
- S&P Downgrades Italy's Debt Rating
- Libyan Relationship With Italy Expected to Survive Regime Change
- UK Official Favors More Worker Say on Boardroom Pay
- London Court Charges UBS Trader With Fraud
- Denmark Elects First Woman Prime Minister
- Serbia's Markovic Fights Corruption and Public Skepticism
- Kosovo to Boost Privatizations
- Italy and Greece Ask Albania to Unify on European Agenda
- Greece Unveils New Measures to Prevent Default
- Germany: The Beleaguered European Island
- Merkel: Europe Must Avoid 'Uncontrolled' Greek Default
- Kosovo an Obstacle to Serbia's EU Bid
- The Eurozone Debt Crisis: Why the IMF Proposal is Flawed
- Italy: An Economy in Denial
- Should We Break Up Britain's Banks?
- Innovation and Foreign Ownership: New Evidence from Spain
- The Crisis of Europe and European Nationalism
- Europe's Palestine Problem
- Turkey-Israel: What's next?
- Turkey's Akyol, An Apostle Of The Third Way
- Balkan Countries Work To Round Up Privately Held Weapons
- Eurozone Manufacturing Slowing
- European Union Spending Cuts and Tax Hikes Hurt GDP Growth
- Who's Worse Off: Europe or the United States?
- Germany: German Tiger or European Growth Engine?
- Greece Forecasts Economic Contraction to be Worse than Expected
- Collateral Deals will Have Negative Impact on Greece
- Spain Announces Temporary Tax Cut to Stimulate New House Sales
- Eastern Mediterranean Olive Oil Producers Seek Markets in Far East
- High North: The New Frontier
- The Politics of the London Riots
- Young Westerners -- Deprived or Decadent?
- Explanations and Excuses for English Riots
- Many British Households See Steeper Rise in Debt
- Young Turks Returning Home to Chase Economic Dreams
- The Pain in Spain
- Multiculturalism and Dutch Political Culture
- Macedonia Eyes Its Future in Antiquity
Available at Amazon.com:
Copyright 2011, iHaveNet.com