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Annual Conference of the Eastern Partnership: ‘A stronger economy for stronger societies - Investing in people for sustainable growth‘

The Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU together and the European Commission hosted to the Eastern Partnership Annual Conference “A STRONGER ECONOMY FOR STRONGER SOCIETIES - INVESTING IN PEOPLE FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH” on 7 December 2018 in Vienna, Austria. The conference highlighted in a cross-sectoral way particular achievements within the "20 Deliverables for 2020", which best demonstrate tangible results reached in 2018 on the topics of economy, skills, education and youth.

Dr. Karin Kneissl, Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, and Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, warmly welcomed the participants at the opening of the event. Panel discussions followed with the aim to identify the main challenges and opportunities, exchanging examples of best practices as well as giving recommendations for concrete actions.

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Two events- 5th EaP Business Forum followed by the Eastern Partnership's Annual conference gathered together CEE BC group- representatives from CEE BC Brussels (Natallia Harbuz), CEE- business council Moldova (Christian Gessl), CEE BC Georgia (Nika Markozashvili, Mariam Kuchuloria), CEE- business council Armenia (Marina Jamkochian). The CEE BC network is created as an active continuation of the Public-Private Dialogue programme of the Project East Invest2 and which demonstrates sustainable development. This is the second conference, in which all partners of CEE BC and PPD Network Consortium participated.

Conference Programme

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“EASTERN PARTNERSHIP BUSINESS FORUM 2018” was held on 6th December 2018, Vienna, Austria.

This forum was organized on the occasion of Austria’s EU Presidency 2018 by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, in partnership with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.

The forum and B2B Matchmaking platform “EaP Business Forum” has given an opportunity for 254 representatives of the companies, experts and public institution from EU member states and EU’s six Eastern partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) to exchange knowledge and views in the fields of Energy Efficiency – Renewable Energy and IT –Digital Market.

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CEE BC Brussels (Natallia Harbuz) and partners- CEE BC Moldova (Christian Gessl), CEE BC Georgia (Nika Markozashvili, Mariam Kuchuloria), CEE BC Armenia (Marina Jamkochian) took part in this event.
During the workshop the group CEE ВС , which took place after the end of the business forum, the plans for 2019 were discussed. We express our gratitude to Stefan Moritz, Managing Director CEA-PME, for his participation in the workshop.

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For more information contact - Natallia Harbuz - natalia.harbuz@cee-bc.org

Report on the investment forum "Invest Gagauzia 2018" by Eduard Sheleg

First of all I want to thank Natalia Нarbuz for the opportunity to visit Gagauzia and get acquainted with the local culture, business and residents.

A very progressive delegation gathered, the members of which I almost all know, which in advance increased the efficiency of the trip. The organization was at the level that allowed to come, live and leave the country without any problems.

The fourth international investment forum was organized at the European level with interesting speakers, participants and sponsors. I saw many aspects in the deployment of government to business, changing the tax base and simplifying business in the region and the whole country. In some practical examples, this was visible and understandable. Gagauzia borrows already worked out methods of work in all areas from the European, Japanese and American experience in order not to waste time on inventing something of its own, on which to spend a lot of time and money. I want to wish the forum to develop and spread throughout the world.

Our visit to the wine festival impressed the friendliness of the local population and local traditions. I want to mention people, they will do the most important thing in Moldova, you only need to give them a chance and all the conditions for the development of their business, family and corporate.

I got acquainted with the situation of work and development of the Rotary movement. And since I myself am a member of the Rotary Club Minsk City, I appreciated the potential for development in Moldova and directly in Gagauzia, to be useful to society and to engage in charity. Further interaction between the countries and joint projects were discussed with representatives of local rotary clubs. Thanks to all the organizers and representatives for the opportunity to learn about Gagauzia and look forward to further cooperation!


Eduard Sheleg


Belarus delegation that was invited by CEE BC Moldova to take part in Gagauzian Investment forum Invest Gagauzia 2018 November 3, 2018, visited the CEE BC Moldova office in the capital of Gagauzia, Comrat on the 5th of November 2018. During the meeting were discussed the common problems in medium and small businesses in Moldova and Belarus.

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The Belarusian delegation expressed gratitude for the invitation to participate in the forum and stressed that the forum was very informative and gave new ideas for joint projects.

Liudmila Zhalvakova, director of „Kamni“ LLC, told that she was discussing with the mayor of Ceadir-Lunga about bilateral cooperation and also she is interested in expanding export of wood products from Belarus .

Alexandr Kulagov, individual entrepreneur from Belarus, is very intereted in сooperation in the field of export of certain food products from Moldova to the Republic of Belarus with an emphasis on healthy eating.

The participants of the meeting got acquainted with the work of the CEE BC network and associations CEE BC in Moldova, Armenia and Belgium.

In conclusion, Natalia Harbuz underlined, that in this meeting representatives of business associations CEE BC Moldova from Moldova, CEE BC from Belgium, Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship and Union of Entrepreneurs, Employers and Сraftsmen from Belarus took part as well as representatives of SME from Brest, Gomel, Vitebsk regions. And they confirmed their interest in the development of communications on the PPD platform. Such meetings are traditionally held 2 times a year at various sites on the initiative of the PPD Consortium, which is supported and developed by CEE BC associations, as well as other business associations included in Triple 6.

The Chairman of the Union of Entrepreneurs, Employers and Сraftsmen Shalonik Sergey invited the CEE BC Moldova to Brest to participate in business events dedicated to the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of Brest in 2019.

Meeting 18102018

Meeting of the Consortium working group

October 18, 2018 at the headquarters of the Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship, a regular meeting of the Working Group of the PPD Network Consortium was held.

Discussed the main issues: activity PPD Network Consortium for March 2018- October 2018, Organizational Development PPD Network and networking of CEE BC associations. The issues of consortium sustainability, attracting volunteers and donors were discussed with Vladimir Karyagin, Zhanna Tarasevich, Katerina Safonova, Natallia Harbuz, Naun Katc.

It was decided to take part in the annual international PPD Network- CEE BC seminar, November 5, 2018, and also to form a business delegation to participate in the investment forum in Comrat, Moldova on November 3, 2018.

Main issues for discussion read here

The largest international business forum in the Eurasian Economic Union

A draft business programme of the 3rd International Exhibition Forum has been published on the official site of the event. It covers three days and includes 30 events in three general segments – strategic, industry-specific and business treks. http://eurasianweek.org/index-eng.html#prog-view

The forum that is to take place in Yerevan, Armenia, from October 22 to October 24, 2018 will host vice premiers and ministers, heads of state corporations and representatives of leading businesses of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states and partner countries. Reference Info

*The Eurasian Week Forum is an annual event organized by the EAEU and the Eurasian Economic Commission. The initiative of holding the Forum was approved in May 2015 by resolution of five EAEU prime ministers. The Forum includes business and exhibition agendas and promotes establishment of B2B and B2G contacts.

The first Forum was held in October 2016 on the premises of the Open Innovations Moscow International Forum. The second Forum was held at the Expo platform in Astana, Kazakhstan, in August 2017. The event annually hosts more than 2,000 participants from EAEU member states and third countries.*

The aim of the Forum is to boost integration, growth of economic capacity and expand industrial cooperation between EAEU countries. The Forum represents a platform for developing direct B2B contacts and engaging third-country companies as prospective consumers and investors to create competitive and export-oriented products.

The Eurasian Week 2018 focuses on establishing subcontractor relationships, strengthening cooperation in the Eurasian economic space and stimulating trade with third countries.


FOR BUSINESSPEOPLE FROM THIRD COUNTRIES – it is an opportunity to enter the EAEU markets, find objects for investment and new suppliers.

FOR LARGE COMPANIES - it is an opportunity to expand contractor pools and optimize economic performance.

FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES – it is an opportunity to get practical knowledge on implementing successful business projects, trends to follow, digital technologies to apply in business development.

Why should you participate in The Eurasian Week Forum

  1. Present your products

New to the Eurasian Week is a large-scale exhibition of enterprises from EAEU, featuring more than 120 companies in industries like organic farming, construction materials, light industry, pharmaceuticals and medical products, information technology, precise engineering, and jewelry industry.

  1. Find a subcontractor

The business track features industry subcontractor exchanges. The format is aimed at developing first-hand B2B interaction between enterprises from EAEU member states and third countries, interested in prospective cooperation.

  1. Establish industrial cooperation

EAEU Business Council will hold an open meeting to discuss opportunities for developing cooperation between industrial enterprises in EAEU.

  1. Find out about the advantages of EAEU

The Strategy track agenda includes direct dialog between businesses in the EAEU countries and regulators at the national and transnational level. This track enables entrepreneurs from EAEU and third countries to get practical knowledge of regulations pertaining to running business in the Union space.

  1. Stimulate exports and investmentFor the first time, Eurasian Week exhibition program will involve third-country representatives. Foreign participants have been invited with the aim of developing export capacity and creating conditions for direct B2B interaction.


The exhibition is the first in the history of Forum. The exhibition will feature products from more than 120 companies working in industries undergoing the most active development in the Eurasian space: AGRICULTURE AND FOOD INDUSTRY

Focus: Organic farming Producers of organic produce, fertilizers, plant protection chemicals and equipment for organic farming. LIGHT INDUSTRY

Focus: Artificial materials and technical fabrics Manufacturers of materials for industrial needs, hi-tech materials, and raw materials and inputs for production thereof. CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

Focus: “Smart” construction materials Manufacturers of hi-tech insulation, roofing, finishing and other materials for construction of residential and commercial estate. IT AND PRECISE ENGINEERING

Focus: Technologies for the industry Manufacturers of innovative machinery, equipment and appliances, software and comprehensive digital solutions for the needs of jewelry, light, medical, agricultural and construction industries. PHARMACEUTICALS AND MEDICAL PRODUCTS

Focus: Domestic medical innovations Manufacturers of unique pharmaceutical products, medical equipment and appliances for medical institutions that are unparalleled anywhere in the world. JEWELRY INDUSTRY

Focus: EAEU Jewelry brands

Manufacturers and distributors of jewelry products, designer jewelry and watches.

Participation in all activities of the Eurasian Week is free. Preliminary registration is mandatory.

Companies from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia can take part in the Eurasian Week exhibition.

Inquiries about the participation of the Belarusian delegation by phone: (017) 2982446; + 37529-3237182 (Ilyashchuk Galina Ivanovna, member of the Presidium of the Confederation, vice-chairman of the Minsk capital union of entrepreneurs and employers), head of the delegation - Karyagin Vladimir Nikolaevich (+375296510474)

Natalia Harbuz

National coordinator for PPD Network


Invest GAGAUZIA- это Международный инвестиционный форум, имеющий особый правовой статус и стимулирующий привлечение инвестиций, продвижение имиджа автономии, а также презентация инвестиционной привлекательности АТО Гагаузия (Gagauz Eri). Мероприятие направлено на улучшение инвестиционного потенциала и дальнейшее стимулирование притока отечественных и иностранных инвестиций в экономику автономии, формирование и продвижение имиджа АТО Гагаузия (Gagauz Eri) как внутри страны, так и за ее пределами. Проведение инвестиционных форумов в 2015, 2016 и 2017 годах, дало ощутимый импульс для создания новой инвестиционной площадки и эффективного взаимодействия властей Гагаузии с потенциальными инвесторами. Invest%20gagauzia В первые форум прошел в 2015 году, с 6 по 7ноября в Гагаузской автономии Республики Молдова, во время которого представители гагаузских и иностранных инвестиционных кругов обсудили проблемные вопросы, угрозы и перспективные направления для привлечения иностранного капитала в экономику региона. Представители Исполнительного комитета Гагаузии, считают, что наиболее интересными для иностранных инвесторов могут быть агропромышленный сектор, винодельческая и плодовоовощная промышленность. Одним из вызовов для Республики Молдова, и в частности для Гагаузской автономии, является наличие профессионального трудового ресурса. Глава ТПП Республики Молдова отметил что: «Сегодня иностранный инвестор сталкивается с отсутствием хорошо подготовленного и квалифицированного кадра, который смог бы реализовывать серьезные проекты на территории Республики Молдова». Baskan Данный форум, прошел под лозунгом «Инвестиции - основа развития Гагаузии». Несмотря на ряд проблем, с которыми сталкиваются инвесторы и представители малого среднего бизнеса, нельзя не отметить что в ходе форума был предложен ряд проектов, некоторые из которых привлекли инвесторов и были частично финансированы. «Торгово-Упаковочный Дом» (в Гагаузии, г. Комрат):
Актуальность данного проекта связана с острой нехваткой (необходимостью) налаживания системы заготовки, продажи, экспорта сельскохозяйственной продукции, винно-коньячных изделий на территорию Российской Федерации. «Производство продуктов Здорового Питания и Органических кормов» и многих других. « Gagauzia-360», под таким названием прошел второй форум Invest GAGAUZIA. Организаторы форума отметили, что Гагаузская автономия открыта для инвесторов в радиусе 360 градусов, поскольку Республика Молдова обладает беспошлинным доступом к рынкам СНГ, ЕС и Турции. Кроме того, наряду с этими преимуществами, автономия имеет собственные меры стимулирования инвестиционной деятельности, закрепленные в региональном законе об инвестициях.
На данное мероприятие были приглашены представители центральных органов власти Республики Молдова, национальные компании и бизнеса ассоциации, представители крупных иностранных предприятий из более чем 20 государств мира, включая страны СНГ, ЕС, Ближнего Востока, Российскую Федерацию и Турцию. Gagauzia360 На пленарном заседании, среди почетных гостей были: руководитель немецкого агентства GIZ Ронни Бехман, Руководитель офиса ЕББР в Молдове Дмитрий Гвиндадзе, Вице-премьер турецкого правительства Йылдырым Тугрул Тюркеш, молдавский премьер министр Павел Филип и многие другие. В ходе заседания гости подвели итоги сотрудничества, отметили инвестиционные возможности, а также экономический прогресс. Bashkan На форуме была представлена продукция молдавских и гагаузких производителей такие как Sana, Marigold, Vitapharm и многие другие Made%20in%20gagauzia Пленарное заседание инвестиционного форума «Invest Gagauzia» Завершилось подписанием ряда важных документов. Протокол о намерениях между турецкой промышленной зоной GEBZE и исполкомом Гагаузии подписали представитель компании из Турции Нил Сёнмез и первый заместитель председателя исполкома Вадим Чебан.

Стороны договорились о совместной работе по составлению генерального плана развития Промышленного парка Комрата с целью привлечения в него инвестиций и новых резидентов. Также в рамках форума заключен договор о предоставлении инвестиционной преференции Исполкомом Гагаузии компании «AZAMET PRO». Данная компания планирует осуществить инвестиции в целях реализации проекта по модернизации производства по переработке отходов винодельческой отрасли. Gagauzia%20invest Темой обсуждения следующего форума была Invest Gagauzia – новые возможности. Новый подход в возрождении отдельных отраслей промышленности, новые возможности для инвестиций в функционирующие и вновь образованные производственные сектора, бизнес инкубаторы, акселераторы бизнеса, инновационные центры. На форуме была году разработана и принята новая Стратегия социально – экономического развития Гагаузии на 2017-2022 годы, в которой определены приоритетные направления стратегического развития региона – устойчивый экономический рост и продвижение имиджа Гагаузии на национальном и международном уровне. Invest%20forum В ходе форума представились три экономические зоны для инвесторов, а именно Свободная экономическая зона в Комрате, Свободная экономическая зона в Чадыр-Лунге, Свободная экономическая зона в Вулканештах.

Цель и задачи форума:

  • презентация новых инвестиционных возможностей Гагаузии;
  • активизация внутренних инвестиций в экономику региона;
  • определение приоритетных направлений работы по инициированию и продвижению проектов с международными компаниями;
  • повышение осведомлённости международных компаний об экономическом и инвестиционном потенциале автономии, о созданной благоприятной деловой среде для развития предпринимательства;
  • демонстрация возможностей и стимулирование привлечения инвестиций в функционирующие и вновь образованные ЗСП, субзоны ЗСП, промпарки;
  • привлечение прямых иностранных инвестиций в перспективные отрасли экономики Гагаузии;
  • развитие партнёрства иностранных и отечественных предприятий в реальном секторе экономики;
  • организация диалоговой площадки для обсуждения возможностей реализации инвестиционных проектов на территории автономии, для обмена мнениями, положительным опытом и рекомендациями по инвестированию. Bashkan%20gagauz

По окончанию пленарного заседания форума, представитель компании Fujikura, рассказала почему строительство завода будет проходить именно на территории АТО Гагаузия и отметила ряд положительных факторов, в этой экономической зоне.

Проведение ежегодного форума Invest-GAGAUZIA, способствует экономическому росту и развитию малого среднего бизнеса, а также помогает наладить связи с рынком СНГ, ЕС, Турции. Это хороший рычаг не только для развития, но и привлечения молодого поколения, для работы у себя в стране.

The platform that unites businessmen from different countries


In April of this year, the online platform byitsmart.com was launched. It is designed to bring together entrepreneurs from different countries on the same resource. First of all, the project will be of interest to those entrepreneurs who plan to expand their business beyond their state. At byitsmart.com you can find a business partner abroad or post your request for a search for a product or service in another country.

The main difference between the b2b platform byitsmart.com and other similar projects is the "warm" audience of potential customers. Everyone who places information about himself is interested in partnership. For 5 months the project has united more than 1300 companies from 44 countries.

With the help of byitsmart.com business owners can find partners from around the world. To do this, you need to register on the platform and in the personal account add an offer or demand for a product or service. The number of offers from one company is not limited. You can choose the future partner yourself: by name, category, country or keywords.

Now there are about 1000 offers on cooperation in the database. Among them: sugar producers from Italy, developers of industrial facilities in the US, etc. There are offers from businesses in the CIS countries.


The creators of the platform attract potential customers to cooperation in various ways: advertising, direct offers, etc. "Thanks to this, it is much easier and faster with us to find, for example, a Polish company that will offer lower wholesale prices, or Israeli, interested in your software," – says a founder of the project Elena Bobyr.

Place free information about your company and your product or service on the platform byitsmart.com, and get an effective tool for its promotion at the International level in the B2B segment. As a result:

· Your company will increase revenues, due to the influx of new partners;

· You will reduce the cost of advertising and promotion on the Internet;

· You will not need additional staff.

Byitsmart.com is a platform created to optimize export relations between countries. The problem for many companies in the search for new markets or new business opportunities is the lack of information about these markets, as well as the lack of local partners. Byitsmart.com helps to solve this problem, as well as to help enter these markets through a network of partners serving this platform on the ground in different regions around the world.

For customers who want to work on individual terms, there is a closed BIS-club account. Its peculiarity is unique offers from members of the club.


In the near future, the platform will launch an intelligent search system that will automatically match the appropriate options to meet customer requests, collect and analyze information from resources around the world using the built-in multilingual module.

BYITSMART - business has no borders!

Sara Rajabli

My story about inclusion of women with special needs

My name is Sara. I am a 21 y.o. Azerbaijani social entrepreneur, who is working on reducing of unemployment problem of women with special needs. Since early student years, I have been involved in volunteering activities at international events. I regularly checked the notice boards for announcements in my university, and found an opportunity to study in Germany for 6 months. I became one of the scholarship winners. I could not believe it, but it was a reality. So, what this program gave to me? First of all, a taste of independence. Being alone, I took responsibility for making decisions and solving problems. I had to manage my time effectively for all sorts of daily activities, as well as my financial recourses. Education in Germany inspired me to research a lot. I experienced the real student lifestyle and became inspired to become an entrepreneur in the future.

My life in Germany taught me to take the most ambitious, crazy, and “impossible” risks. I challenged myself, I overcame fear: during my mini European trip, many things happened to me, both positive and negative, which had a profound impact on me. Now, I understand the importance of leaving your comfort zone, trusting your own intuition and relying on the kind and friendly people around you. Most importantly, all the stereotypes I had about nations and people were broken completely. Once your stereotypes are broken, you become a global citizen and a change maker.

After coming back to Azerbaijan, I participated in local projects and obtained scholarships for conferences in various countries. I realized that if I could do it, others could too. I decided to find these people and share their experiences in one platform: Free to Travel. The main goal is to show that free travel is not only possible, but also able to change a person completely. The project helps me to inspire youth to make their dreams become a reality. Until now, it could share more than 60 stories of travelers from more than 40 countries and organize free events about youth opportunities, receiving more than 1000 applications and more than 250 participants.

Another my experience with education abroad is linked to participation in an Erasmus+ training course “Young European Social Entrepreneurs network”, which was organized by YPIDA in March 2017 in Istanbul. 28 participants from 12 countries took part and represented their organizations and cultures. As a result, we developed pitch models of projects to apply for a “Key Action 2” Erasmus+ grant. Next chance of connecting with people and learning by doing was related to Erasmus+ training course about social entrepreneurship in Mullsjo city of Sweden.

Thanks to such projects and people, I became a social entrepreneur by launching BUTA Art & Sweets platform, which is working on solution of unemployment problem of women with special needs. Our main mission is to solve their unemployment problem by giving them opportunity to have a business from sales of homemade sweets.

In 9 months without any external investments, experience of working with people with special needs and sales of sweets we could involve more than 15 women with special needs by empowering them through education and business, enlarge our menu to 23 types of sweets, cooperate successfully with more than 30 international and local companies, organizations and event organizers(including AIESEC, USAID, Nizami Ganjavi International Center, Fairmont Hotel Baku, Yunus Social Business Center, U.S. Embassy, National Youth Council etc.), represent our products at large scale events in Russia, France, Hungary and Bahrain. As the first social business project from Azerbaijan, we have been selected for “Yunus & Youth” Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program 2018 and currently we participate at their acceleration and mentorship program. Through different events we tried to show our heroes in order to break stereotypes in mind of local people that “disability” is only in our minds. People, who didn’t believe in existence of this project because of our team members, now are expressing their gratitude for being role models despite all physical, psychological and emotional challenges.

We also have been involved in various charity programs, trying to connect our women with children, who are fighting for their lives. Currently we are trying to help a 6 y.o. girl, who is fighting with

cancer, by donating incomes from our sales. You can find here about donations here.

Those women have been interviewed by BBC and local media channels and we saw how much we can learn from them instead of isolating ourselves from them. Our story was featured on official EEAS website.

Just imagine reactions of those women, who have been thinking about being useless to our society, after telling them, that their sweets are represented at high level events and tried by presidents of countries.

After gaining such success for short time just with 85 Euro bootstrapping, I decided to share my experience of launching social business in Azerbaijan. Here is another platform appeared : Social Business Youth Center, aiming to promote and enlighten social entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan through non-formal education tools. With 0 budget, we could organize in 2 months 7 events with 500+ applications and 140+ participants, involving speakers from Deloitte Azerbaijan, Camping Azerbaijan, Berkeley University etc.

Here is the end of my story… Story of a young girl, who just wants to change reality through breaking stereotypes about underprivileged group of people, from whom we can learn much more that we ever imagine.


DataFest Tbilisi 2018: Call for Applications among civil society activists in Eastern Partnership countries

Eligible: citizens of the EaP countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) who are actively engaged in projects covering the EaP region as representatives of a civil society organisation or non-for-profit media and who use open data and public records as a part of their job.

More information Aplication form



We invite you to take part in the International Exhibition of Industrial Construction and Infrastructure BUILDING INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS, which will be held in Warsaw (Poland). The exhibition will feature leading international manufacturing companies and suppliers of construction and municipal products. This will provide profitable commercial opportunities for importing high-quality products directly from its producers at favorable prices.

At the exhibition, the program will be implemented hosted buyers (the possibility of buying the exhibited goods).

Subjects of the exhibition:


Establishing direct, useful business contacts with international companies Familiarization with important segments of the Polish construction market, evaluation of a wide range of products and services offered (in one place) Receiving valuable information on practical aspects of bilateral cooperation

Communication with experts on business contacts and partnerships between international companies Signing promising agreements and contracts For representatives of Belarusian business attending this exhibition, a special program of financial support has been developed.

HELP on the visit of the exhibition:

Mikutskaya Ekaterina Aleksandrovna, +375 44 763 70 82, +375 17 322 23 96

Zhmailik Tatyana Nikolaevna, +375 29 670 55 62, +375 17 322 23 18

Business support centers and small business incubators in the Republic of Belarus

The Republic of Belarus has a network of small and medium-sized businesses supporting infrastructure, which consists of 104 business support centers and 26 small business incubators (as of September 2018).


The centers provide information, methodological and consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses, conduct marketing research, assist in obtaining financial and material and technical resources, training, retraining and attracting qualified personnel, as well as in the implementation of these subjects of their activities.

An incubator is a legal entity that has the premises and property located in them for the right of ownership, economic management, operational management, or on other legal grounds, specially equipped for offices and production of goods (performance of works, services) their activities to small businesses in order to assist them in the development and acquisition of financial independence.

Incubators create organizational and economic conditions for the development of small businesses by providing them with the premises and property available to the incubator for a period of not more than five years, information and consulting services, assistance in finding partners, obtaining financial resources, and carrying out other activities not prohibited legislation and aimed at performing the main tasks of the incubator.

Designed by Irina Shnyak



The Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship invites you to participate in the Economic Forum "BIA forum - EquipmentSuppliersandLeasingForum" (Equipment Suppliers and Leasing Forum) to be held in Tbilisi on 06.10 - 10.10.2018.

More than 300 heads of local and foreign leasing and manufacturing companies, international financial organizations and funds, representatives of government bodies of business, foreign embassies, chambers of commerce and industry and business associations will take part in the Economic Forum.

More information here



October 18 - 19, 2018, we are inviting you to take part in an international brokerage event and B2B bargaining that will be held in Katowice, Poland in the framework of the European Congress of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, organized by Fundusz Górnośląski S.A., to seek partners and prospective opportunities for cooperation. and the team of the Enterprise Europe Network Enterprise Support Network in Katowice.

Invitation to the Congress VIII European Congress of SME (En) (Pl)

Participation in events is free of charge.

To participate in the events you need to register on the site

Additional information: Лебедева М.А. e-mail: infosme@bk.ru, phone: + 375297057436


SAP UP 2018 was launched!

Do you have an idea how to improve the life of your environment, solve a social problem, improve the ecological situation? Then take part in the social projects competition SAP UP 2018. The consultancy "Social Technologies of Business" in 2018 is the information partner of the contest in Belarus.

SAP CIS company invites Belarusian social startups to take part in the contest. Winners of prize places will win a certificate for an educational trip to Europe. The project that won the Grand Prix will receive a grant of 450,000 rubles in Russia, 1,700,000 tenge in Kazakhstan, 10,000 rubles in Belarus and 2,000,000 Armenian drams in Armenia.

Key%20direction Stages of the competition:

Acceptance of applications: September 7 - October 7; Evaluation of the projects by the experts of the competition and identification of the participants who passed to the next stage: October 7-21; Evaluation of the projects of the jury and definition of the finalists: October 22 - November 12; Finals in Minsk: November 29.

Application form on the contest website



September 25 - 28, 2018 at the address: Minsk, Pobediteley Avenue, 20/2, Football Manege, the 25th international specialized exhibition Woodworking-2018 will be held.

In one of the days of the exhibition on September 26, 2013 from 15.00 to 18.00 there will be a meeting "Round Table" "Problems of Public and Private Partnership in the Work of Enterprises of the Timber Industry Complex of the Republic of Belarus".

The program of the meeting:

Problems of exchange trade and ways to solve them Problems of the market of services in forestry Sawmill export issues Problems of export and licensing of products Issues of investment in the forest industry The concept of building a unified state automated information system for accounting for wood and transactions with it. The issues of organizing the leave-acceptance and delivery of the sold raw materials from the seller's warehouse to the buyer's warehouse. Organizer: Republican Forest Industry Association



On October 11, 2018 we invite you to participate in the international brokerage event Horizon 2020 Brokerege, which will be held within the framework of the international conference and the largest technology fair in the Baltic States Riga Comm 2018 in Riga, Latvia, in order to find partners and prospective cooperation opportunities.

The international brokerage event Horizon 2020 Brokerege will include a seminar and B2B negotiations.

Participation in events is free of charge.

To participate in events, you must register on the site

Additional information: Лебедева М.А. e-mail: infosme@bk.ru, phone: + 375297057436



October 19-20, 2018, to find partners and prospective opportunities for cooperation in the field of modern technologies in the unmanned industry and unmanned aerial vehicles, we invite you to participate in the international brokerage event DRONETECH 2018, which will take place in the framework of the international fair DRONETECH Trade 2018 and the DroneTech 3rd World Meeting in Torun, Poland.

Also the program of events will include the competition of unmanned aerial vehicles DRONETECH RACE CUP

Participation in events is free of charge.

To participate in events, you need to register before October 12 on the site.

Additional information: Лебедева М.А. e-mail: infosme@bk.ru, phone: + 375297057436.


15-19 August, 2018 more than 50 delegates from 9 countries took part in the "CIS Youth Startup Platform" project.

The event gathered entrepreneurs from Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan Az The project was developed to discuss the problems faced by young entrepreneurs in the CIS and Eurasian countries and will seek solutions for the development of the launch ecosystem in our countries and strengthen cooperation at the regional level between our countries in this area. Participants had the opportunity to share best cases and practices with their countries and discuss the problems they face. The organizers will also travel to business incubators, successful startups and other ecosystem participants in Azerbaijan to learn more about the host ecosystem of the host country. Barama%201 Participants the "CIS Youth Startup Platform" learned how small and medium-sized businesses in Azerbaijan are supported. Barama Entrepreneurs visited the Business Incubator Barama (similar to HTP in Minsk), the state SME Support Fund (whose leader dreams to create an ideal place and conditions for entrepreneurship), as well as the foundation of the Youth Foundation of the Azerbaijan Azerbaijan.

  • video
  • Ue%20platform


    On July 30, 2018, the Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship together with the Association "Support and Development of the Crypto-Currency and Blasting Technologies" held a presentation of the Universal Entrepreneurship Platform.

    The UE platform is a combination of the latest technological, financial and management techniques, which is software in the form of a website and a mobile application. It contains elements of the stock exchange, labor exchange, commodity exchange, ICO and crowdfinding, start-up incubator, business support center, automated workflow, business school.

    The UE-Platform will provide opportunities for assessing the market, registering a business, obtaining a license, attracting investments, hiring staff, selling products.

    Today Belarus has high hopes for high-tech projects and for HTP as the main opportunity to attract financial flows to the country. At the same time, the Republic has many other advantages that can influence the successful development of the economy.

    At the event, in addition to the organizers, there were representatives of small and medium-sized businesses, individual entrepreneurs, representatives of banks and regional business associations.

    %D1%86%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%82%D1%80 21 %D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%BA

    One of the first in the country center for supporting entrepreneurship "Centro XXI Century" celebrates its 30th anniversary!

    "The Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship" invites you to take part in the round table discussion on "The role of the infrastructure of entrepreneurship support in the development of business initiative, small and medium-sized business in the Republic of Belarus", which will be held on June 14, 2018 at 14:30 at : Minsk, Prospect Zhukov, 44, room 404, 4th floor.

    To participate in the meeting were invited: managers and specialists of government bodies, representatives of associations of industrialists and entrepreneurs, the Belarusian Fund for the Financial Support of Entrepreneurs, business support centers, small business incubators, enterprises and organizations, business media.

    If you are interested in participating in the event and / or speaking at the round table (up to 10 minutes), please register immediately by e-mail: office@rce.by or call tel. (017) -3222357 (59); +375296705662 (Zhmaylik Tatyana Nikolaevna), +375291947908 (Polutorov Eduard Yurievich). Speakers are kindly requested to send the proposed topic of the speech. The program of the event will be posted on the website: www.rce.by, and also sent to you after receiving your application.


    Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Georgia 2018

    On June 20, Georgia’s main crypto event will take place in Tbilisi – Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Georgia 2018.

    The conference aims to provide every participant with comprehensive understanding of the economic and legal subtleties of the crypto industry in the country.

    Join #BBConfGeogia: https://goo.gl/EmrhbG


    Guru Blockchain Forum

    On May 26, 2018, the first in Belarus summit on blocking technologies and crypto-currencies "Guru Blockchain Forum" will be held at the Pekin Hotel. Leading world experts, developers, practitioners from Germany, Israel, Russia and Belarus within one day will highlight all relevant topics and areas of application of Block-technologies and crypto-currency for business.

    The summit will allow building the technology of real income from the Crypto-currency.

    How can we create a program of our own financial independence step by step? Is it possible to get a new source of income and earn "on the machine"? How to avoid mistakes and not come across so-called "pitfalls"? Simple and accessible to these and many other questions will be answered by specialists who are leaders in their fields.

    more information http://www.rce.by/index.php/all-news/6444-guru-blockchain-forum


    Georgian Post’s membership of the European Business Association is to Enhance European Business Connections

    “We are impressed by Georgian Post’s rate of innovation and management’s commitment to improve customer service and efficiency. Their vision for the company is ambitious and the potential to increase electronic commerce through innovation and technology creates a significant opportunity for the country, particularly in the SME Sector. We are proud to have them as a member and are committed to a close and productive partnership which will include the development of EBA’s mediation and arbitration services.” – David Lee, CEO of EBA Georgia.

    See More: http://eba.ge/en/news/27


    Ideal place for training for small and medium business in Belarus

    TheThe theme of development of small and medium business is very actual in the conditions of modernization of the existing economy.

    Small and medium-sized businesses play an important role in any country: it provides employment for the population, generates healthy competition, saturates the market with new goods and services, and provides for the needs of large enterprises.

    как открыть бизнес в ЕАЭС

    Isloch Park offers business development support, invites to conduct trainings, assists in organization, provides all necessary conditions. Houses for living, a conference hall, as well as a picturesque place for team building.

    designed by Nastassia Studentsova


    Specialized forum on telecommunications, information and banking technologies "TIBO-2018"

    May 4-18, 2018 in Minsk, the XXV Anniversary International Specialized Forum on Telecommunications, Information and Banking Technologies "TIBO-2018" is held. This event is patronized by the Ministry of Communications and Informatization, and a wide range of state bodies of the Republic of Belarus, private business associations and other interested parties participate in it.

    "TIBO" is held in the Republic of Belarus on an annual basis and represents a platform for the exchange of new achievements and best practices in the field of information technology. This year more than 100 companies from 15 countries take part in it.

    Forum on Telecommunications, Information and Banking Technologies "TIBO-2018", includes the International Specialized Exhibition and the Belarusian Congress on Information Society Technologies. Visitors will be able to familiarize themselves with the national information infrastructure; information and communication services; integrated solutions for telecommunication operators; mobile services and applications; information technologies in the socio-cultural sphere; digital technologies in printing and publishing; robotics, etc.

    Bia Investment forum: Georgia - Land of Opportunities

    We are happy to invite you to the annual Forum titled “Bia Investment Forum: Georgia - Land of Opportunities,” which will take place in May 15, 2018 inTbilisi, Georgia.

    The purpose of the annual Forum is to bring together over 500 businessmen, investors, government representatives and international organizations interested in questions concerning Georgia's economy and the region and to discuss the current and prospective opportunities and the challenges facing the national and regional economy.

    The Forum provides potential investors with the opportunity to hear about the country's macroeconomic, legal and tax advantages from leading experts in government and business. Attendees will hear current and planned projects in infrastructure, energy, tourism, real estate, capital market development, private equity and venture capital.

    Investors will have the opportunity to address questions to government and business representatives regarding different industries and projects and toarrange face-to-face meetings with projects'representatives. The Forum will host foreign investors, representatives of international rating agencies, investment banks, venture capital companies, and representatives of private equity funds.

    Investment forum
    Click to read more


    Violence is not the norm

    In other countries, this problem is dealt with not only by internal affairs bodies, but by a whole system of state structures and representatives of civil society.

    In Belarus, the task of resolving the problem of family violence is almost entirely entrusted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

    They are engaged in alcoholics, and drug addicts. And now also family violence. This is the first problem.

    The absence of a comprehensive state program is another problem:

    This work should be dealt with by specially trained law enforcement officers with the participation of representatives of public organizations, volunteers. Both those and others should have a clear idea of ​​the psychology of family relations.

    In any case, a broad public discussion of the project with the participation of foreign experts is needed.

    Designed by Nastassia Studentsova

    What is happening with innovations in Latvia?

    The peculiarity of the modern stage of economic development is the transformation of the economic system and the transition to an innovative economy. Micro, small and medium-sized (MSMEs) innovative enterprises, which drive economic growth, technological development, employment and structural change, play a special role in this process, and serve as a significant source of knowledge in today's economy. The question arises why Latvia, where small and medium-sized enterprises (in the text, SMEs) play a more prominent role in the non-financial business economy than the EU average, is significantly behind the rest of the EU in terms of innovation activity?

    For example, according to the results of the Global Innovation Index 2017, Latvia ranks 33rd among 127 countries, Lithuania - 40th, Estonia - 25th place. In turn, the European Innovation Scoreboard 2017 results show that Latvia is a moderate innovator, because the results are below the EU average, and in terms of innovative activities, Latvia is significantly behind Estonia and Lithuania. At the same time, Lithuania is one of the countries with the fastest growing pace of innovative activity.

    Undoubtedly, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in any national economy as they contribute to economic growth, acceleration of scientific and technological progress, market saturation with good quality goods, solve economic, social and other problems in the country and fulfill several important functions, for example, create new jobs; self-employment; stimulate the growth of innovation in the economy; increase the competitiveness of enterprises; demonstrate the flexibility and diversity of business activities; mitigate the impact of the economic crisis; reduce dependency on raw materials.

    SMEs in Latvia are of great socio-economic importance because they not only provide services or sell goods to consumers, but also help large, innovative enterprises operate more efficiently, as they serve as suppliers for large companies and sellers of products produced by large companies. According to the Eurostat, SMEs play a more significant role in the Latvian non-financial business economy than the EU average, for example, the share of value-added SMEs in Latvia is 69.8% (EU average 56.8%), SMEs in Latvia employ 79.0% (the EU average 66, 6%). In turn, micro-enterprises in Latvia employ almost a third of the population of the country, which is in line with the EU average.

    What is happening with innovations in Latvia
    Click to read more

    EaP Civil Society Hackathon

    The European Union is committed to supporting civil society in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, including through supporting the development of ICT tools for transparency, accountability, digital participation and public services. As a part of these efforts, in 2017-2020 the European Union’s Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility project organises a series of EaP regional hackathons.

    2018 EaP Civil Society Hackathon is the second hackathon in the series. It will bring together about 60 civil society activists, IT professionals and web-designers from six EaP countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – to Minsk, Belarus, to work face-to-face on software projects that would enable civil society better to contribute to reforms and democratic changes in their home countries. The Hackathon participants will get support and advice from a multidisciplinary team of guest speakers and mentors, with proven experience in social tech initiatives, IT start-ups and consulting companies.

    The overall goal of the EaP Civil Society Hackathon is to establish long-term cooperation between local civil society and IT community that would results in developing new ICT tools to empower digital participation of citizens, to improve transparency and communication of governmental decisions and spending, to enable broader participation in decision making process and to advance public services.

    2018 Eastern Partnership Civil Society Hackathon is an integral part of the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility project.

    EaP Civil Society Hackathon
    Click to register

    Press Release on signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on establishment of the Parliament -SME Cooperation Council


    For the first time in the Republic of Armenia a new platform for the public-private dialogue between the National Assembly (the Parliament) and Small and Medium Enterprises was set up by 11 NGOs representing interests of business community. A Memorandum of Understanding establishing the NA-SME Council was signed by business associations and chambers.

    20180406 164831 The associations and chambers who signed the MOU were selected based on the following criteria:

    -Business membership organizations acting on the territory of the Republic of Armenia;

    -Organizations that have been active in the last three years, conducted annual general meetings and other events with the participation of the members;

    -At least one third of the members of each participant were SMEs;

    -At the time of signing the MOU each organization has had at least 20 members.

    The mission of the NA-SME Council is to improve the dialogue between SMEs and legislative bodies thus ensuring better quality of legislation on SMEs. The members of the new Council will approve its charter and regulations, after which at least one member from each Parliamentary faction participating in the economic block will be invited to join the Council.

    The Council will have no chairperson, will not report to any government agency and its decisions will be made by simple voting. The members of the Council are non-governmental associations and chambers representing interests of the business community.

    The MOU was signed by the following organizations:

    SME Cooperation Association NGO

    Union of Information Technology Enterprises

    Union of Armenian Freight Forwarders

    Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Shirak marz

    Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Gegharkunik marz

    Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Lori marz

    Armenian Young Women's Association

    Armenian Agricultural Alliance

    Armenian British Business Chamber

    Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vayots Dzor marz

    European Business Association

    This project is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) within the framework of the “CSO Development Program” (CSO DePo). The contents and the views expressed as part of the project are the sole responsibility of the SME Association and Eurasia Partnership Foundation, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

    Public-private partnership opportunities in Latvia and Azerbaijan

    Sstaa Logo EED Economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Latvia - is it between our countries? Even though agreements between the government of Azerbaijan and the government of Latvia on the principles of trade and economic cooperation have been signed, as well as the Convention on the elimination of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion, Latvia and Azerbaijan are still not sufficiently evaluating their economic potential. Just to mention that, according to the central bank of Latvia data, Azerbaijan's foreign direct investment in Latvia in 2017 amounted to about € 12 million, while Latvia's investments in Azerbaijan are negligible. In addition, there are now just over 40 joint Azerbaijani-Latvian companies in Latvia (compared with about one and a half thousand Latvian and Lithuanian companies in Latvia) in various sectors such as Construction, Wholesale and retail trade, Transportation and storage, Accommodation and food service activities, Financial and insurance activities, Real estate activities, Arts, entertainment and recreation. Interesting, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, trade turnover with Latvia in January-May 2017 exceeded $ 3.7 million, most of which, $ 3.4 million, is export from Latvia. In the last year, trade between countries increased by 11.5%. Why is economic cooperation between Latvia and Azerbaijan so insignificant and can it be improved? It should be noted that Latvia does not define Azerbaijan as a priority country in Latvia's foreign policy, Latvia stimulates the eurointegration of other Eastern Partnership countries - Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as these countries are most actively moving to the EU. In turn, the Azerbaijani government "balances" between the West and Russia. Azerbaijan, being a serious exporter of oil, is on the "Eastern Partnership Roadside" without showing a strong initiative, while remaining among the countries of the Eastern Partnership. Positive political atmosphere would foster the interest of Latvian businessmen in Azerbaijan and its economic potential. To strengthen economic relations between Latvia and Azerbaijan, the Latvian-Azerbaijani business forum is regularly held in Latvia, the last one was in July 2017. But this is too rare and too little to get to know the country and its economic potential in full.

    Latvia and Azerbaijan
    Click to read more

    EBA spoke about investment opportunities and business environment in Georgia in the Investment Management Exhibition, which was held on March 20-21 in Frankfurt, Germany.

    European Business Association spoke about investment opportunities and business environment in Georgia in the Investment Management Exhibition, which was held on March 20-21 in Frankfurt, Germany. 22222222222222 International Management Exhibition (IME) is an international event, which serves as a matchmaking platform for connecting investors with public and private investment project opportunities in Energy, Infrastructure, Logistics, Industry, Mining, IT and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). The focus is Central Europe, South Eastern Europe, Eastern Partnership Countries and Central Asia.

    This year IME was mainly concentrated on the investment opportunities in the region between Germany and China along the ancient central silk road via the Caucasus and Central Asia. IME believes that Belt and Road Concept could facilitate significant improvement of the Eurasian Continent, if the international investors community and the governmental authorities of the region work close together in the coming years. 333333333333333333 The basic concept of IME in Frankfurt 2018 is to build on the amazing success of the 13 new Central and Southern European new member states and benchmark, network and coordinate the investment and economic development both of FDI and SME development.

    Exhibition was opened by the President and CEO of The Region of Frankfurt Rhein Main Mr. Eric Menges, Founder of IME Mr.Bekim Xhafa and Consulate of Chinese People Republic in Germany

    Mr.Wang Shunqing.

    Chinese Consulate mentioned about the importance of Belt and Road Initiative for China, Europe and the countries between. Over 20 country representatives from public and private sector presented investment projects, including Austria, Netherlands. Republic of Kosovo, Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Korea, Serbia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and different regions of Germany like: Bayern, Baden Wurttemberg, Hessen and Nordrhein-Westfalen.

    Institutional investors, Financial service providers, Project developers, Cities & Regional Authorities, Economic free zones/industry parks attended the exhibition.

    Presentation about Georgia’s investment opportunities was made by Mariam Kuchuloria, Deputy CEO of EBA Georgia. She talked about favorable business environment for foreign direct investments in Georgia, presented different projects and mentioned about the role, the country can take in the Belt and Road initiative. 44444444444444 It was decided that IME representatives will visit Georgia in the nearest future to get more information about the specific projects and support Georgia to really compete with other countries at the IME 2019.

    Mariam Kuchuloria

    Deputy CEO



    Международная научно-практическая конференция «Фискальная политика в целях устойчивого экономического развития» состоится в Минске 28.03.2018

    Уважаемые коллеги!

    БСПН им.Кунявского совместно с Минэкономики, Минфином, МНС при поддержке Совета по развитию предпринимательства, Программы поддержки Беларуси, НИЭИ Минэкономики организует международную конференцию "Фискальная политика для целей устойчивого экономического развития".

    Участие бесплатное.

    В случае Вашей заинтересованности просим принять участие Вас и Ваших представителей и пригласить Ваши членские организации. Письмо и форму заявки прилагаем. Примерная программа на нашем сайте. Заявку необходимо отправить не позднее 23 марта 2018 года.

    Письмо руководителю

    Заявка участника и программа конференции

    Why Ukraine should become a Balkan country

    Ukrainian politicians, diplomats, journalists and intellectuals should start paying more attention to how the countries of South-Eastern Europe (SEE) are currently preparing for their entry into the European Union. Kyiv can accelerate its own European integration by entering a number of SEE cooperation formats specifically designed to prepare the Western Balkan states for their future EU membership.

    G%C3%BCnther%20Fehlinger How can Ukraine persuade the European Union to provide it with a membership perspective and to start entry negotiations? Many decision-makers in Europe still do not see Ukraine as a serious candidate for accession and do not trust its government’s dedication and/or ability to deeply integrate Ukraine into the EU. Western European politicians and diplomats are therefore shying away from the tasks, responsibilities and costs associated with Ukrainian accession.

    This is in spite of the fact that Western public opinion, the European Parliament, and experts on Eastern Europe have become remarkably pro-Ukrainian since the Orange Revolution of 2004. Yet some Western states are afraid of Russia and averse to risking a rise in tensions with Moscow. It will not be easy for Ukraine to change the Western political class’s negative perception of its potential and the European public’s skepticism regarding its future EU membership.

    One way for Kyiv to speed up this process is to redirect its international focus towards other current or recent accession candidates. In particular, Ukrainians should use the experiences and institutions of the Western Balkan countries and learn from the former Yugoslav republics how they have achieved their current positions vis-à-vis Brussels.

    Since the Kosovo war, Europe has built a sophisticated regional reform infrastructure for the SEE that has led to significant progress in the “Europeanization” of the Balkans, i.e. its legal and practical incorporation of the EU’s acquis communautaire. Ukraine should explore whether it can join some of these SEE regional pre-accession mechanisms, and try as much as possible to participate in the elaborate membership-preparation system established for the Western Balkan states. There are 16 SEE bodies, created with the help of Brussels, to foster transnational integration in former Yugoslavia and Albania. They are:

    • Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) • Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) • Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) • South Eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN) • South Eastern Working Group for Regional and Rural Development, (SWGRRD), • Center for Public Employment Agency for Southeastern European Countries (CPESSEC), • Regional Youth Cooperation Center (RYCO), • South Eastern European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC),
    • Center for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC), • Education Reform Initiative for SEE (ERISEE),
    • Regional School for Public Administration (RESPA), • Regional Disaster Preparedness Center (DPPI), • South Eastern European Center for Entrepreneurship Learning (SEECEL), • Center of Excellent in Finance (CEF), • Regional Environmental Center (REC).

    In addition, there is a top level intergovernmental dialogue format, the so-called “Berlin Process”, that regularly brings together political leaders of the Western Balkans and interested EU member states. This informal meeting series was initiated by Germany in 2014 to foster political stability and national security of the SEE candidate countries.

    Some of these bodies and formats may be persuaded to incorporate Ukrainian representatives and organs. If successful, this could help Kyiv to better frame the country – in both practical and symbolic terms – as an EU candidate, and to gradually enter the EU’s current group of accession candidate countries “through the Balkan backdoor.”

    Would the Balkan founding countries of these regional structures agree to Ukrainian membership? Moldova – like Ukraine, an EU Eastern Partnership member – is already in most of the listed SEE structures, including the RCC and CEFTA, and has helped them to develop. Ukraine’s membership would add further weight to these structures because of its market size and geopolitical relevance as a pivotal country between Russia and the West.

    Some Balkan elites could see Ukrainian membership as a threat to their dominance of the EU’s current SEE integration framework. Yet, it should be clear to all those Balkan politicians and diplomats who promote their countries’ rapprochement with the West that, in the last decade, supporting Ukraine has become a marker of a pro-Western stance for many decision-makers in Washington, Brussels, London and Berlin. Ukrainian membership in the new SEE structures could therefore also help Western Balkan countries to develop their image and relations vis-à-vis the US, EU and Germany. Ukrainians tend to argue in favor of their readiness for, and inclusion into, the EU from a somewhat Manichean world view. They often present themselves as expressly non-Russian, anti-Eurasian and pro-Western, and advertise their country’s relevance as being Europe’s bulwark against Eastern barbarism. This argument might be true or not, but it is not very effective in Western Europe. The EU does not define itself in opposition to Moscow as Kyiv does.

    Instead, Brussels’s Europeanization concept is to pacify and unite the continent via deeper economic integration, partial cultural approximation, cumulative bureaucratic standardization, and ever more democratization. The provision of security assurances, international integration, geopolitical weight, and even some non-military collective defense – above all, via the EU’s economic leverage against outsiders – is part and parcel of this process.

    The latter benefits are especially attractive to Ukraine. But they are not the key drivers or primary purpose of EU. The modus operandi of the union is instead an accumulation of baby steps, leading over time to qualitative change in an indeterminate direction, rather than implementation of grand schemes to change the world according to a clearly defined end result.

    Ukrainian diplomats and experts are, of course, familiar with the peculiarly postmodern nature of European integration and its effects beyond the EU’s borders. Yet the broader political and intellectual elite of Ukraine - and especially its party leaders - have not yet sufficiently internalized that Ukraine can only become a full part of this process by seriously adapting to it. Ukrainian representatives’ frequently bombastic rhetoric, various PR campaigns, excessively emotional appeals, sweeping historic refences, and many symbolic gestures are understandable. They should be seen against the background of Ukraine’s epic confrontation with Russian imperialism, the enormous suffering and thousands of deaths caused by Moscow’s continuing hybrid war against Kyiv, as well as many Westerners’ continuing naiveté with regard to the nature of Putinism. For Ukraine, the EU is today thus doubly attractive as both an overtly economic project and an implicit security provider.

    Nevertheless, the EU cannot change the bureaucratic rather than geostrategic logic of its operation because of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Further successes in Ukraine’s European integration will thus have to follow long-winded procedures somewhat similar to Ukraine’s complicated formulation and ratification of the Association Agreement, or to the protracted negotiation and implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan with the EU.

    The Western Balkans’ various cooperation frameworks with Brussels and Berlin provide ready-made pathways to follow a strategy of incremental approximation and integration by pragmatic rather than rhetorical means. In addition to driving forward the ongoing association process with the European Union, the transnational SEE partnership schemes and other similar instruments for the transposition of knowledge, rules and practices should be actively studied, approached and utilized by Kyiv as well as its Westerns friends.

    Günther Fehlinger is Chairman of the NGO “Europeans for Tax Reforms” and Board Member of the Action Group for European and Economic Integration of the Southern Balkans.

    Andreas Umland is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Kyiv, and editor of the book series “Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society” published by ibidem Press at Stuttgart and distributed by Columbia University Press at New York.

    PPD: the opinion of an expert from Ukraine

    Every post-Soviet state, which has today chosen the European path of development, completes an important and necessary stage of reforms – in political, social, economic and cultural area, shaping the new public conscience. Often, such changes appear to be quite painful, as social tension in the society increases. So, development of new instruments, capable of embracing a broad spectrum of stakeholders became extremely necessary.

    Public and private dialogue (PPD) is capable of uniting the efforts of many actors – the government, the public sector, the scientific circles and other individuals, which have common interests. It is especially important that such dialogue may include various shapes and sizes of companies and organizations, giving the small and medium enterprises (SME) a chance to become the full-fledged participants in the reforms, with the aid of business associations. 18118981 454274351593581 8306800148696356993 n Cooperation of the authorities and business associations within the context of PPD appears to be the most effective, because it allows finding the actual variety of problems, developing solutions and controlling their implementation, which prevents crisis occurrences, improves the business environment and raises the level of trust of the business to the power. As a constant work platform, PPD is capable of showing immediate results via coordination, transparency and accountability. The Handicraft Chamber of Ukraine was established in 2009, in order to join the efforts of craftsmen, the micro-, small and medium businesses (MSMB), and to introduce the concept of handicraft to the social and economic turnover, as well as to shape the independent handicraft sector, which is capable of solving the problem of cooperation of education, employment and business sectors.

    Over the years of cooperation with the government, our organization completed a long stage of establishing the dialogue with the power and the complete destruction of this dialogue, whenever the interests of big industrial groups were put before the priority of MSMB, and there was an illusion of competitiveness amid the prospering monopolies.

    With this in the background, the situation became even more complicated by the social dialogue – which experiences a deep crisis in the post-Soviet countries, and by the political engagement and the ineffectiveness of business associations.

    Since 2014, the MSMB sector in Ukraine completed both the stage of massive shutdown and the stage of shaping a brand new class of entrepreneurs, which made a conscious choice to develop their business in Ukraine. Today, such companies produce high-quality goods, changing the attitude to the Ukrainian product and shaping the new image of the country. The MSMB in Ukraine showed enough will to join efforts and to be heard, which gave the green light for the Handicraft Chamber of Ukraine.

    Amid these processes and thanks to the East Invest II project, namely the PPD priority, the Handicraft Chamber of Ukraine got the opportunity to reboot the public and private dialogue. The said priority solved a super-task within the project, because, in a short period of time, it managed to define the common sore spots for six countries, create the working grounds in these countries, thus turning the challenges into opportunities and making the PPD an innovative working tool.

    For our organization, the instrument of PPD became a new point of departure in working with the government, an opportunity for cooperation with the working business associations and bringing the multi-level and multi-sector cooperation into life. Besides, the PPD may start the new form of social dialogue in the Eastern Partnership countries, given the current positions of MSMB in it.
    The key step taken on the path to qualitative changes was shaping a powerful engine, the PPD Consortium and the development of the common position, thanks to which, the voice of every participant in every participant country becomes louder – day by day.

    Elizabeth Miroshnichenko Secretary-General NGO Handicraft Chamber of Ukraine