The participants of the Western Balkans Conference in Poznań

The participants of the Western Balkans Conference in Poznań

© BMWi

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier is attending the Western Balkans Conference, also known as Berlin Process, in Poznań, Poland, today.

Peter Altmaier said: “The Berlin Process is a success story. It aims to bring the Western Balkan countries closer to the European Union and to further intensify the regional cooperation in the strategic fields. The Economic Affairs Ministry will continue to be engaged in the Process in the context of various initiatives, including the Western Balkans Digital Summit, the Skills Experts Programme to help German companies train local staff, and other initiatives to promote economic relations. Our main objective is to make the Western Balkans more competitive and bring the region closer to meeting the challenges awaiting it in the European single market.”

On the margins of the conference, Minister Altmaier will also be meeting with his Polish and French counterparts in the context of the Weimar Triangle. Their talks will focus on the European competition and industrial policies and the European Battery Alliance. The three Ministers also want to provide impetus for the economic-policy agenda of the next European Commission.

The participants of the Western Balkans Summit include the heads of state and government and the Ministers for foreign and economic affairs of the Western Balkan countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, and the host countries Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Poland. In the region, the series of Summits is called the “Berlin Process”.

The economic forum comprises panel discussions and presentations by companies from the Western Balkans and the European Union on the issues of digitisation, the energy market and vocational training.etc.

At around €28.52 billion, the trade volume between the Western Balkan countries (including Croatia and Slovenia) and Germany rose to a new record level in 2018. The German federal government also supports the bilateral trade in the context of the "purchasing initiative for the Western Balkans", which was launched in 2014. The initiative helps establish contacts between German companies and potential suppliers in the region.