March 21st, 2017
The International Conference on crafts and small and medium-sized enterprises, upon the initiative of Koblenz Chamber of Crafts in Germany, was held in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia, two days ago. The Chamber has been active for 20 years, and it has been helping similar organizations from Western Balkan countries for more than a decade so as to enable the independent entrepreneurs and cratsmen transfer experience and knowledge, thus adopting new methods of work and functioning, which have been successfully applied in Germany for many years.
Through the project activities of the Chamber, over time, the Craftsmen associations of the Balkan countries have been established and integrated in the cooperation, whereas a leading role in this joining has the Balkan Bureau for the development of small enterprises, headquartered in Sofia. The main objective of this cooperation is to raise the economy of the Balkan countries to a higher level, through training, exhibitions, fairs, interviews with the politicians, lobbying in the state institutions, thus contributing to an important process of strengthening the entrepreneurial atmosphere in the region.
The main messages at the meeting are the facts that the idea of regional cooperation in the Balkans becomes increasingly realistic and attractive, as well as that craft and private entrepreneurship make one of the leading industries, with a significant share in the total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of each country, but they also make the framework of political cooperation, which is getting increasingly aspiring.
Serbia’s role in strengthening regional cooperation was commended at the conference, especially its insistence on completing the construction of the Corridor and the highway to Bulgaria, Greece and Albania.
The representatives, both of economy and politics, of almost all the countries of the Western Balkans, took part in the discussion at the conference. Our country and the city were represented by the Chairman of the Assembly of the City of Niš, Mr. Rade Rajković.
The Chairman of the Assembly of the City of Niš, Mr. Rajkovic, addressing the colleagues from Montenegro, Bulgaria, Albania and Macedonia, stressed out the importance of creating the conditions that would enable young people to start working, immediately after finishing school or college, with the necessary practice during the school period included.
He also stressed out the importance of re-introduction of the so-called dual education, as well as the need for Serbia to finally get the Law on Crafts. At the same time, he supported the activities of the commerce and associations that are part of the Balkan cooperation in the field of crafts and small businesses, and stressed out the importance of exchanging experiences and expertise at the regional level, which has already contributed to tangible benefits in each of the countries of the Western Balkans.
The Chairman of the Assembly of the City of Niš commended the work and commitment of The Association of the Independent Craftsmen and Entrepreneurs of the City of Nis, headed by the director, Mrs. Tatjana Momcilovic. This Association has been an active partner within the aforementioned project cooperation in the region for several years, the aim of which is to provide additional impetus to the economic development of our city.
In the photo: The Chairman of the Assembly of the City of Niš in an interview with the executive directors of the Koblenz Chamber (Manfred Rubeo) and the Balkan Bureau in Sofia (Emil Vasilev).