*During February, an important change has happed to the organization and competences of this Ministry – the inclusion of the Tourism Sector.
In friendship with the reagion, and not only…
February has been the “Month of the Meetings” of Minister Ahmetaj with several homologues from the Balkan Region. The first of the series, was the meeting of the February 5th, 2015, with the Deputy Primeminister and Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure of Serbia, Mrs. Zorana Milajloviç. The meeting took place in the framework of Berlin process, with the aim to increase interconnectivity in West-Balkan. During the meeting, both delegations agreed to work on drafting a common document that will include all the regional projects, and which will be presented to the European Commission.
The meetings continued with the one of February 9th, 2015, with the Macedonian Minister of Economy, Mr. Bekim Neziri. The two delegations discussed important issues of: economic collaboration, trade, investments, collaboration in the tourism sector and exchange of successful experiences of each country in specific issues such as the re-activation of the Common Comission on Economy.
The official visits were followed by the Minister of Economy of Montenegro Mr. Vladimir Kavaric. The parties stressed that the West-Balkan countries are not in competition with each-other, but in contrary, all together, as a unified market, should compete with the EU countries and even broader. Moreover, it was analyzed the need of good bilateral economic relations, of increasing commercial exchanges, of encouraging investments and of sharing tourism management techniques.
After all the official visits in Tirana, Minister Ahmetaj travelled by the end of the month towards Berlin, where he met the German Vice-Canceller, Mr. Sigmar Gabriel. Mr. Gabriel confirmed that the Blue Highway, a very important project for Albania and the region, not only for the connectivity but also for the new dimension it gives to the economic development and tourism in the region, will have the total support of Germany in order to get the necessary finances from the European Commission. The Blue Highway, alternatively called the Adriatic-Jonian Highway, connects several countries such as Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece and it is considered a very important “bridge” of the region with the Europian Union
The visit in Berlin ended in the business forum with Albanian and german companies, where Minister Ahmetaj presented the opportunities and advantages of investing in Albania. A forum of the same kind, with a lot of German business representatives, will be organized in Tirana in September.
In all this context, the month will be ended with another meeting of high-level in the heart of the European Union, in Brussels, where Minister Ahmetaj signed the COSME agreement, a program which aims to increase the competitiveness and innovation of small and medium enterprises. After the signing of the agreement, the EU Commissioner Bienkowska welcomed Albania in the group of countries which can benefit from the funds of the COSME Program. Regarding the program and the policies of SME-s, Mrs. Bienkowska added: “The access in finances remains one of the crucial problems which SME-s face. I wish that this program will be utilized as a financial source as much as possible, in a very efficient way to support SME-s and at the same time will be considered as business platform from the which EU will gather ideas on how to promote them”.