Towards intensified networking in South East Europe

Experts from 14 European countries discuss regional integration in Europe during interdisciplinary conference in Belgrade

Belgrade, 24.02.2011 – Almost 200 delegates from 14 European countries – amongst them representatives from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine – attend the conference "Network Building for European Integration", which started yesterday in Belgrade. Until Friday, executives and professionals of companies, public authorities and civil society will focus on intensifying the cooperation between participating countries and institutions. The three-day meeting in Belgrade is initiated by recently founded "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH". The organisation brings together the long-standing expertise of the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) gGmbH (German development service), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German technical cooperation) and Inwent – Capacity Building International, Germany.

In his introduction, Wolfram Maas, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Serbia, said, “Regional integration is a key to stability, peace and security in Europe. 50 years of European integration in western Europe provide a solid foundation for peace and stability: Two factors which are also particularly relevant for the Western Balkan after the wars and disintegration in the 1990’s.”

Dr. Leo Kreuz, Head of Department for South East Europe and South Caucasus of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), underlined, “It is people that make things happen, not organizations or systems. This conference is an important opportunity to exchange shared interests and experiences. Furthermore it is a big chance for all participants to gain new impulses for themselves, for their companies and organizations and in particular for their countries.”

Since the establishment of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe in summer 1999, all countries in the region have undertaken enormous efforts in the process of European integration, achieving great success with political, social and economic reforms. Nevertheless, the challenges are still very high in the region and overshadowed by the serious consequences of the global financial and economic crisis.

The conference brings together alumni of capacity building programmes mainly conducted by Inwent, one of GIZ’s predecessor organizations. A special focus is on the promotion of national and regional networking in terms of cooperation and stronger cohesion in the region. Furthermore the delegates will discuss specific issues in the sectors of EU accession, regional and rural development, vocational training and sustainable business development.

“Network Building for European Integration” - 1st Interdisciplinary Alumni Conference South East Europe, 23-25 February 2011, Best Western Hotel M, Belgrade/Serbia

Contact in Belgrade:

Astrid Vochtel, GIZ
Mobile: +49-178-790 83 70
E-Mail: astrid.vochtel@giz.de

Andreas Baaden, GIZ
Mobile: +49-174-39 12 432
E-Mail: andreas.baaden@giz.de

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. It supports the German Government in international cooperation for sustainable development and in international education work. GIZ supports people and societies in shaping their own futures and improving living conditions.