Press release

PM’s Trade Envoy welcomes focus on economic development in Western Balkans

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Kenneth Clarke welcomes the Prime Ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro & Serbia to EBRD investment forum.

Cabinet Minister and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy, The Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke, addressed the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) Western Balkans investment forum in London today. The forum will highlight potential opportunities in the region and promote the inflow of investment and cross-border projects.

Mr Clarke said:

The Western Balkans, with its young, dynamic population, extensive natural resources, and diverse cultures can be a key source of growth and innovation in Europe.

The map of the Western Balkans is finished and the focus must be on prosperity. Economic development is vital to bringing long term stability to the region. Great progress has been made and I am proud that many British investors are already backing projects there.

There is of course still more work to be done by the Western Balkan countries to remove obstacles to trade and build effective institutions, and I welcome the European Commission’s new emphasis on helping enlargement countries improve their economic governance.

The UK remains a strong supporter of EU enlargement on the basis of firm but fair conditionality and we will continue to monitor and assist the Western Balkan countries as they progress.

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