The EBRD is hosting a series of regional seminars ahead of its 2005 Annual Meeting in Belgrade to engage countries from the western Balkans and beyond in dialogue that will benefit the wider region.
The Banks Secretary General Johnny Åkerholm arrives in Serbia and Montenegro today to meet with senior government officials, including Serbias Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic in Belgrade and Igor Luksic, Minister of Finance for Montenegro, in Podgorica. He will also meet with Predrag Ivanovic´, Minister for International Economic Relations for Serbia and Montenegro and Nenad Bogdanovic, Mayor of the City of Belgrade. During his meetings Mr Åkerholm will brief officials of the seminars in more detail, reiterate the Banks commitment to working with the authorities to ensure the success of the Annual Meeting, and emphasise its importance for Serbia and Montenegro and its neighbours.
The visit comes on the eve of the first of the two-day seminars, which runs 8-9 November in Zagreb, Croatia, and will focus on the development of municipalities across the country. Other seminars will tackle the subjects of transport (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2-3 December), energy (Albania, February 2005), and privatisations (FYR Macedonia, March 2005).
The seminars will focus on key issues affecting these countries, said Mr Åkerholm, as well as addressing the regional dimension, which is crucial for the prosperity of these countries. The seminars will bring together prime ministers, finance ministers, mayors, business leaders and experts in relevant fields to see how best to develop these core sectors and overcome obstacles to investment.
Just two months after hosting the final seminar, the EBRD will hold its 14th Annual Meeting on 22-23 May 2005 in Belgrade, Mr Åkerholm added. It will be an occasion to draw the worlds attention to the region, with more than 2,500 guests expected, including investors, business leaders, politicians, non-governmental organisations and journalists.