Cadez: The economy of the Western Balkans will struggle to survive under the constraints imposed by politics

Marko Čadež
Source: Kosovo Online

President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Marko Cadez, stated that it was challenging for the economy of the Western Balkans to survive under the constraints imposed by politics. He emphasized that it was the task of the European Union and the United States to integrate the region into the economic structure of the EU.

After a meeting of the ministers of economy from EU member states and the region in Tirana, held as a part of the upcoming Berlin Process summit, Cadez told Kosovo Online that business leaders hoped the situation would not deteriorate further.

"We are no longer asking whether things will improve between the two conferences, but we only hope that it won't get worse when it comes to politics. We can see that the situation can not only worsen, but it can become even more complicated, complex, and challenging for the economy, even though our companies, whether they are from Pristina, Pec, Kragujevac, Belgrade, Banja Luka, or Sarajevo, have been working together for a long time. It's increasingly difficult to survive as such when you have all these constraints imposed by politics. We can no longer be a part of an event if we don't hear what will change," Cadez said.

According to him, the Business Community of the Western Balkans has been very clear about its expectations from the European Union and the United States for eight years. They must put in more effort to stabilize relations between Belgrade and Pristina and include the region in the EU's economic structure.

"As business communities, for these eight years, we have clearly stated what we need. The EU and the US need to put in even more effort to stabilize and primarily normalize the relations between Belgrade and Pristina. We need to eliminate all the barriers that exist in business, and we need a new way to involve the entire region in the EU's economic structure. We have made a concrete proposal based on European economic areas, something without which, it seems to me, we as a region will not be able to survive," Cadez believes.

He emphasizes that the region's businesses can no longer rely on "the same old stories" from the EU but expect discussions on concrete solutions for the Western Balkans to join the European Economic Community more quickly.

"I have also asked representatives of the European Commission, which is genuinely trying to do its best with the tools it has. However, this is a matter of the highest political level of EU member states. They need to understand that they have a problem in their own house and that this problem could genuinely escalate into a significant issue for their own economy, which we already see concerning other global players. I have requested that when they meet again at the Berlin Process, it would not be another failed session, but they should sit down and negotiate solutions. The swift entry of the entire region into the European Economic Community or the establishment of a European Economic Community, utilizing all the benefits of the single market, and then from there, we can work towards full membership. We have much more to do," Marko Cadez concluded.