4th Vienna Economic Forum

Investment Development in The Countries from the Adriatic to the Bleack Sea - Problems and Solution Proposals

President Dr. Erhard Busek and Secretary General Ambassador Dr. Elena Kirtcheva had the great pleasure to welcome more than 480 participants from 30 countries throughout the world 5 November 2007 in RZB, Raiffeisen Hall, Am Stadtpark 9, 1030 Vienna and on 6 November 2007 in Österreichische Lotterien GmbH, Rennweg 44, 1038 Vienna.

Beside our honourable VIP-Guests, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers from our Member countries, high ranking representatives from the European Commission, OPEC, OSCE, Energy Community Secretariat, UNEP, and UNIDO also have come to exchange their views. 

The Opening Speech was held by Dr. Erhard Busek, President of Vienna Economic Forum and the Welcome Address was given by Dr. Herbert Stepic, Chairman of Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, Vice Chairman of RZB AG and Member of the Board of Vienna Economic Forum.

Introductory statements were made by H.E. Dr. Martin Bartenstein, Austrian Federal Minister of Economy and Labour, Dr. Josef Taus, Management Trust Holding, Austria and Vice President of Vienna Economic Forum, Dr. Veit Sorger, President of the Federation of Austrian Industry and Founding Member of Vienna Economic Forum, Mr. Mohammad Alipour-Jeddi, Head Petroleum Market Analysis Department, OPEC and Mr. Hidajet Biscevic, Elected Secretary General, SEECP and Regional Cooperation Council.

Eight keynote speeches from high ranking managers and international experts, as the new European Union Co-ordination Caspian Sea Middle East-European Union Gas Route Mr. Jozias Van Aartsen, introduced the audience to one of the four topics of the Round Tables on the first day: 

  • Investment Development and Financing
  • Energy Sector – Proposals and Solutions for the Region
  • Investment Development in the Telecommunication, Innovation and Technology in the Region – Problems and Solutions Proposals
  • Ecology and Sustainable Development in the Region – Water and Waste Management

With the impressive development of South-East European countries, the political and economic interest in the Region is increasing as well. South-East Europe is further seen as a most interesting field for Foreign Direct Investment and many participants are encouraged to continue or to start cooperation with the Region. 

H.E. Minister Bartenstein pointed out Austria’s important role in the Region and in the EU integration process based on the interest in a political and economic stability.

The Workshops during the second day, at the Studio 44, hosted by Dr. Karl Stoss, CEO, Casinos Austria AG and Member of the Board of VEF, were focussed on:

  • The Danube Cooperation Process and the Transportation Problems. Investment in the  Ports, Railways, Container Transport
  • The Role of the Cooperation for Creating a Regional Airlines System – Problems, Solutions, Experiences
  • Industrial and Legal Security – Challenges and Risks

It was a pleasure for the Vienna Economic Forum to welcome H.E. Gazmend Oketa, Deputy Prime Minister of Albania and H.E. Dr. Vujica Lazovic, Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro, addressing the audience with an overview of present and future projects in their countries and in the region. 

The Secretary General Ambassador Dr. Elena Kirtcheva stated she is glad to see the Vienna Economic Forum grow to be a useful platform and distinguished place for meetings and exchange and to support and develop common projects in the Region of South-East Europe as a part of a united Europe.

During the two days of intensive discussions and talks numerous contacts and networks were built and future ideas and investment projects were discussed – and the willingness to continue this meeting has been expressed.

Meetings scheduled for 2008: 

Vienna Economic Forum - Moldova Meeting
20 – 21 Februar 2008 in Chisinau, 
under the patronage of H.E. Prime Minister Vasile TARLEV

Vienna Economic Forum – Montenegro Meeting
14 – 15 April 2008 in Podgorica 
under the patronage of H.E. Prime Minister Zeljko STURANOVIC 

Vienna Economic Forum -  Albania Meeting 
8 – 9 Juni 2008 in Tirana, 
under the patronance of H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Sali BERISHA

The 5th Vienna Economic Forum
10 - 11 November 2008 in Vienna





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Vienna Economic Forum - Istanbul Meeting

Invest in Turkey - Invest in the Region

25 June 2007, Istanbul
In Cooperation with the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK)

This year’s Vienna Economic Forum annual Summer Meeting has taken place in Istanbul from June 24th to 25th. 

More than 180 Representatives from the industry and economy have participated the VEF Istanbul Meeting. 
Amongst them there were high 
Representatives from Governments and entrepreneurs from 14 countries. Also institutions such as  the Energy Community Secretariat in Vienna, The European Investment Bank, the UNIDO and The International Finance Corporation - World Bank Group have been present.  

Most of the participants came from Turkey and Austria but also participants from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, UNMIK Kosovo have taken the possibility to discuss future co-operations.


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Vienna Economic Forum - Ohrid Meeting

Invest in Macedonia - Invest in the Region
Tourism: Branch with Future

The Vienna Economic Forum, founded in 2004 in Austria, aims to promote the economic development and cooperation between the countries from the Adriatic to the Black Sea, comprising around 130 Million consumers.

It is a platform, where the decision-makers of the region discuss together initiatives and projects in order to accelerate their implementation. 

The Prime Ministers of the Member Countries of Vienna Economic Forum - Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey – created a Patron Committee, which is a decisive body of Vienna Economic Forum. 

The topic of the Ohrid Meeting of the Vienna Economic Forum, was:

Tourism: Industry with Future

The Patron of this year’s Forum was Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. 
From the Macedonian Governments side were also present:
Deputy President of the Government,  Mr. Zoran Stavreski  
Minister of Economy, Mrs. Vera Rafajlovska (the Ministry of Economy incorporates the Tourism Department)
Minister of Foreign Investment, Mr. Gligor Tashkovich
Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Mile Janakieski 

From the Vienna Economic Forums Board Members side were present among others:
Dr. Erhard Busek, former Vice-Chancellor of Austria and Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and President of the Vienna Economic Forum.  
Dr. Elena Kirtcheva, General Secretary of the Vienna Economic Forum.

In her opening address, Dr. Elena Kirtcheva specially welcomed some of the investors in Macedonia: Dr. Rudolf Gruber, the President of the Supervisory Board of EVN, Mr. Hanno Soravia, the Managing Director of Soravia Service Ltd., Dr. Boris Nemsic, the CEO of Telekom Austria and mobilkom Austria, all are Members of the Board of the Vienna Economic Forum (VEF) as well as other VEF Board Members, the representatives of Wiener Städtische, Vienna Insurance Group, who were voicing their interest in investing in Macedonia.

Overall, there were more than 200 participants from 17 countries and 3 International organizations - European Commission, OSCE and UN. 

Most of the participants came  from Macedonia  (among them many Mayors of Municipalities of Macedonia)  and Austria,  but also from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Japan, Montenegro, Norway, Qatar, Serbia, Slovenia, USA, UNMIK Kosovo.
The list of participants is in the attached files.

Most of the speakers were emphasizing the potential of Macedonia as a tourist destination. What is missing though, is a Master Plan to get to its implementation. Dr. Busek stated that there was enough money in the different supporting institutions. But there is a need in elaborated projects. He focused strongly on regional development and the relevant institutions, but also mentioned the development of Airline Systems. 

Mr. Coffey from the World Bank declared that only Green Field Investments create sustainable work force. As Macedonia simply not being on the "Radar Screen"? of international investors, he said that the World Bank will reinforce the Macedonian Investment Agency.

Hanno Soravia, from the Investment Group Soravia put his emphasis on the young and motivated work force in Macedonia. He also demanded a new Airline for the country.

Minister Vera Rafajlovska was citing the plans of her Ministry to install different forms of tourism, beyond the classical mass tourism. Among others: lake tourism, mountain tourism, spa-tourism, ecological tourism, cultural tourism etc. The Ministry is working on a Strategy of Development of Tourism.

The representative of Slovenia stated that Tourism was the most promising sector of economic growth (with growth rates of 10 % every year. In 1999 in Slovenia, 34.000 people were working in the tourism sector, in 2007 they were 60.000).
The Slovenians have made a Road Show for Investors, to sell the potentials of their country and they offered help to Macedonia in developing a tourism strategy. 

After the different statements in the morning, the Forum was separated into two different Round Tables:

1.    Infrastructure and Tourism Development
2.    Tourism Development – Chances and Risks.

The topics of the presentations can be found in the attached file: 
VEF – Ohrid Meeting Programm.doc

Mr. Andreas Vögl, the Moderator of the 2nd Round Table resumed the results of the discussions as follows:

1.    Make Macedonia a brand
2.    Create a cause (why should one come to Macedonia, film, golf, niche tourism)
3.    Create Family owned Businesses (like in Austria)
4.    Create a Win-Win-Situation: for the Guest, the Hotel, the Tour Operator
5.    Invest in people (soft skills versus hard skills)
6.    Use the offers of  the Austrian Trade Organisations
7.    Develop a Tourism Masterplan to transfer Threats into Opportunities

In the resuming speeches of the two Round Tables, the overall topic was education. 
There was a general feeling that training and vocational training were the main needs for a development in the Tourism Sector in Macedonia.

But as also stated in the morning session, the elaboration of a Master Plan for Tourism was regarded of first need at this very moment.


List of Participants



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The town of Ohrid

The town of Ohrid (known as Lichnidos) has been in existence for about 2500 years. Since the ancient times, here in the area of the town of Ohrid civilization achievements have been changing, with its ups and downs.

The modern town of Ohrid, is nowadays a spiritual, cultural and tourist center in Macedonia. Reading about this town one feels like going through the whole history of this biblical country of Macedonia. In 1980 the town of Ohrid entered the UNESCO list of heritage due to its priceless riches.

    If you bathing in Lake Ohrid on a sunny day and suddenly emerge from its depths, breaking the surface for a moment, you will see on the pale blue expanse all around you silvery, transparent bubbles, big and small. In each of them the Sun is doubly reflected, like two focuses of different sizes. Approaching one of the bigger bubbles, holding your breath for fear it may burst, you can see in it, as in a distorting mirror, the reflection of your face, wet and laughing. And all the time, that bigger sun, like a vast star, hangs over your head.
    It all lasts for just an instant, like all beauty, yet it is repeated over and over again...

    IVO ANDRIC, Nobel Laureate (excerpt from travelogue "Beside Luminous Lake Ohrid")


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