Organised by the Union of Employers of Republika Srpska (RS), the conference is included in the process of developing the RS Economic Reform Programme 2022/2024 and is part of the EU-funded project “Contribution of civil society organisations to improving the impact of entrepreneurship on the socio-economic development of BiH – EISE project”.
Addressing representatives of employers’ organisations, government officials, the academic community, institutions and expert organisations, Ambassador Sattler underlined the opportunities presented through the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans worth €6 billion, including closer economic integration with the European Union and deepening regional integration.
He stressed however the importance of reform. “Only with swift and rational adoption and implementation of key reforms will BiH be able to compete on the European Market, with a population of close to 450 million and GDP of close to EUR 16 trillion in 2022”, Ambassador Sattler said. Speaking about the concrete reforms, the Ambassador noted, “Among the reforms should be transformative issues, such as electronic signature or energy legislation that will allow BiH companies to remain competitive on the European market”.
The EU and its Member States are BiH’s biggest trading partner, biggest source of investment, and biggest provider of assistance. Almost three-quarters of BiH’s exports go to the European Single Market, and the EU has provided almost two billion euros in grants over the past decade in pre-accession assistance. By bringing down barriers to trade with the EU and the region, and stimulating reforms, it is estimated that combined with EU assistance, the Growth Plan could double the size of the region’s economy over the next decade.
“There are many successful companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina who have found opportunities in the EU market in traditional industries such as furniture, automotive and the outsourcing of business processes such as ICT. The recent development of ‘nearshoring’ could make Bosnia and Herzegovina a big supplier of goods and services for the EU market”, stated the EU Ambassador.
Ambassador Sattler also highlighted that the EU would continue to support BiH in the reform process, and called on the country to use the opportunity. “The Growth Plan is an opportunity for Bosnia and Herzegovina that it cannot afford to miss. And we will help BiH with both the design of policies and reforms and their implementation”.
The conference “Challenges and Future of Business #3” gathered several hundred participants with the goal of discussing the key economic and social challenges and mapping out the steps which would contribute to development in the society. It is organised by the Union of Employers of RS for the third year in a row.