The European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched today, with a virtual kick-off meeting, a new project “Support to Regional Economic Integration” in the Western Balkans and the Republic of Moldova.
Funded with a total budget of €5.35 million, the project aims to boost trade relations and further deepen economic integration between the CEFTA Parties. The three-year project, implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit” (GIZ) GmbH, will help to further develop trade facilitation and trade in services under the CEFTA Agreement so they become operational for companies from the region.
In particular, through the improvement of trade procedures and regulations, the project aims to enhance efficiency of supply chains in the region and reduce costs for businesses. Faced with the COVID-19 crisis and its socio-economic impact, promoting activities that facilitate trade is ever more important.
’’The project provides a valuable support to CEFTA to advance both the regional and European economic integration agenda. This project comes at a crucial moment to keep momentum and progress in joint efforts to facilitate trade in goods and services in the region’’, stated Emir Djikic, Director of the CEFTA Secretariat.
’’Regional economic integration has never been so relevant. Building a common regional market, based on EU rules, will be key to socio-economic recovery efforts. This is also a good way to put the region on the radar of global companies seeking new business opportunities. Trade facilitation is a key component to ensure a smooth flow of trade in goods and services both within the region and connecting other markets’’, emphasised Francisco Lopez-Menchero, European Commission (DG NEAR) Deputy Head of Unit.
The project takes an integrated approach to eliminating barriers to trade and reducing the associated trade costs through two specifically tailored project components, focusing on the facilitation of trade in goods and supporting the implementation of key priorities on trade in services, both with a strong business-driven approach.