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Tatjana Shterjova Dushkovska, Secretary General of the Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum

Bringing Abstract Ideas to Life

“One region – One economy” isn’t just an empty phrase, rather it is backed by a lot of dedication to interlinking the businesses of the region, but also to representing them, loudly and clearly, in the regional economic agenda

More than a decade has passed since the first time I entered the building of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia – and I initially wasn’t even there to handle some of the core issues a business organisation usually deals with. I had just enrolled in my Ph.D. studies and received an offer of a part-time engagement in the Arbitration court attached to the Chamber, so I said ‘why not?’ I never planned to remain there for the long run. I was engaged as a teaching associate at the Faculty of Law at the time, dealing primarily with civil procedural law, and, as such, the business environment wasn’t really on my mind – actually, business law and corporations were among the least interesting topics during my studies. And if somebody had told me back then that I would be gladly delving into regional economic cooperation issues every day, I’d probably laugh.

So, what changed? My evolution from a law student to a regional cooperation frontrunner is inextricably linked to that building of the Chamber, right in Skopje city centre. The years spent there, and the experiences I had the opportunity to garner from the leading people in the Chamber, opened me up to new horizons, extending far beyond the lecture halls where I used to teach. I’ve come to realise that the legal principles I studied aren’t only connected to the preparing of statements of claim, judgements, appeals and enforcement proceedings – actually, the rationale behind a good law lies in the ideas it is trying to enforce, and you can take those ideas with you in any area you work.

The legal principles that I studied aren’t only connected to preparing statements of claim, judgements, appeals and enforcement proceedings – actually, the rationale behind a good law lies in the ideas it is trying to enforce, and you can take those ideas with you in any area you work

And those ideas are now my daily companions at the Chamber Investment Forum – an association that emerged out of the idea of six Chamber presidents that they can achieve much more for their national economies by joining forces and working together than any of them would have been able to achieve on their own. And that is an ideal that we at the CIF Secretariat are working hard to reaffirm every single day: that the true powers of regional cooperation lie in shared ideas and visions, and in making the most of the joint journey of the six national economies to the EU Single market.

“One region – One economy” isn’t just an empty phrase, rather it is backed by a lot of dedication to interlinking the businesses of the region, but also to representing them, loudly and clearly, in the regional economic agenda. The acknowledgement of our efforts that came with last year’s Brussels Declaration is a clear indicator that we are on the right track in supporting our businesses on the road to the free movement of goods, services, people and capital. Being recognised as one of the integral stakeholders in the regional processes, but also hearing positive feedback from companies to which we have provided tailored support, gives me the will and motivation to keep pushing forwards, until our economies are all part of the Single market, and I truly hope that day isn’t that far away.

Nowadays, I very rarely get to deal on a daily basis with the kinds of legal issues that were in my focus throughout my education (and, to be completely honest, maybe I miss that from time to time), but the satisfaction brought in my daily work on regional cooperation compensates for that.

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