In the picturesque city of Salzburg, the 19th Europe Summit, organised by the Institute of European Regions (IRE, Austria), was convened under the banner “Europe: Venturing to New Horizons.”
This year’s Summit cast a spotlight on a plethora of themes, including the investment prospects in the Western Balkans, the reconstruction of Ukraine, the ramifications of debts in Europe, reindustrialisation and climate protection, and queries around regionalisation and globalisation in the sustainability sector.
Among the distinguished panelists in the “Western Balkans as the Region of the Future” discussion were Martin Kocher, Austria’s Minister of Economy and Labour; Getoar Mjeuku, Deputy Minister for Economy of Kosovo; Gerd Boomer, regional manager for Southeastern and Eastern Europe and Asia of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce; Zijad Nišić, Mayor of Brčko District, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Obrad Tadić, Director of Smart Energy Investment from Serbia. Mr Tadić emphasised the imperative for European Union investors to motivate companies to invest in projects that enhance citizens’ lives and foster the transfer of knowledge and technology.
Mr Tadić evaluated, “In local municipalities in Serbia, there is a positive disposition for cooperation with companies from the European Union, with Zumtobel and Palfinger being prime examples. Our company executes ESCo projects following the public-private partnership model. For us investors, it is crucial that the legal framework is sound and that there is payment security, which is indeed the case in Serbia, thereby investors can feel secure and comfortable.”
On the inaugural day of the Conference, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehamer addressed the attendees, underscoring that the Western Balkans’ accession process to the European Union is progressing at a sluggish pace, necessitating acceleration.
Other esteemed speakers included Minister for European Integration Tanja Miščević and European Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn.
The most significant business-political event in Europe was inaugurated by Professor Franz Schausberger, founder of IRE, with the exhibition “European Regional Culture.” For the first time at the Summit, the exhibition showcased European art and culture – a fusion of history and modernity, and the regional cultural diversity of Europe.