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Economic Conference – Montenegro 2022 – Talks about the Future
Economic Conference – Montenegro 2022, organized by the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, was held from 26th to 28th October at the Splendid Hotel. Being one of the most influential economic conventions in the region, this conference in Bečići convened for the 11th time representatives of businesses and economic circles, international institutions, associations and the academia to discuss about the future – which is also the topic of this year’s edition of the conference – striving to employ dialogue in order to obtain answers relevant to the business community in the region and beyond, as well as to the society in general.

At the panel titled “The Western Balkans and Europe in 2023”, President of SAE, Aleksandar Vlahović, presented information from the report of the World Bank on the macroeconomic framework in the Western Balkans. During his presentation, Mr. Vlahović pointed out that a slowdown in global economy was expected, that COVID-19 risks still remained and that they would continue to stress the global supply chains, as well as that the potential risk of a rise in the poverty rate was significant. Inflation in the EU is caused by the surge in energy price, whereas in the Western Balkans the inflation is primarily driven by the growth of food price. Therefore, a second shock of price growth should be expected due to increase of energy costs. The deficit is exceeding the budget projections from the beginning of the year, whereas public debt is extremely high. Given everything, it is recommended to synchronize the fiscal and monetary policies and to establish responsibility without the selective and populist approach of one-off solutions.

The panel ended with a conclusion that the key to economic development of the Western Balkan region was cooperation between its countries. The expected reduction of foreign direct investment in Western Balkan countries highlights the need to work much faster on implementing structural reforms so as to increase the relative share of domestic investment and its contribution to economic development. The panel also saw discussions about the region’s preparedness to continue pursuing its EU accession path, but also about the EU’s preparedness for further enlargement.

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