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The Panel ‘Digital solutions for the better WB6 region’ aimed to present regional centres of excellence (e.g. North Macedonia with e-cadaster and e-licenses, Serbia with the e-seasonal workforce as a new form of digital employment, BiH with e-certification). It was moderated by Mr Dejan Đokić, (Director of Asseco See Serbia, Belgrade) who launched the session by reiterating the importance of the development of a better business environment in the region.
Mr Peter Wolf, (Sector Fund Manager, Open Regional Fund For South East Europe Modernisation Of Municipal Services), stressed that it is of great importance to standardise mechanisms and practices in the Western Balkans to attract more investors. He also referred to successful practices implemented by several countries in the region (e.g. Serbia was a pioneer in the region in business certification) and encouraged the economies in the region to make use of positive examples.
Similarly, Mr Jozo Bejić, (Secretary of The Federal Ministry of Development, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Mostar, Federation Of Bosnia and Herzegovina), noted that the Business Friendly Certification South East Europe (BFC SEE) a significant step forward towards attracting both domestic and foreign investors. The interests of foreign investors in the destinations that received the certificate is greater, which significantly improved the competitiveness of municipalities and communities in the region, according to Bejić.
North Macedonia is the pioneer in the region with regard to e-cadaster and e-construction licenses and it has shared its experience and know-how with other countries, such as Serbia and Albania, as noted by Ms Dušica Perišić, (Executive Director of Zels [Association Of The Units Of Local Governments], Skoplje, North Macedonia). She restated the importance of sharing knowledge and good practices with other partners in the region and the willingness of North Macedonia to help in this regard.
According to Mr Ynge Engstrom, (Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Serbia), regional co-operation and progress on the Digital Agenda go hand in hand. The use of digital technologies facilitate moving forward at a faster pace and the EU is keen on supporting this process, said Engstrom, adding that a lot of investment in this process has to be done.
Lastly, Mr Paul Hickey (Sector Specialist - European Investment Bank) noted that the SMEs sector in the Western Balkans tends to encounter structural issues and stated the importance of facilitating and enabling infrastructure broadband, as well as providing direct assistance to companies or technical advice regarding the administrative tasks, for example.
By Katarina Anđelković