Not long ago, many Balkan countries operated under an economic system based on state control and central government planning that restricted private enterprise and became uncompetitive in global trade markets. Since then, these countries have undertaken the challenging, yet eminently worthwhile, transition to free market economies characterised by the deregulation of prices and markets and the liberalisation of capital, labour and product markets; however, in the absence of strong and effective support mechanisms, this transition does not automatically lead to economic development and improved social welfare.
During this transitional period, these economies have experienced severe contractions due in part to the collapse of many uncompetitive, state-owned enterprises and the spread of the global economic crisis which, along with other factors, have resulted in massive unemployment, increased poverty, social instability and widespread corruption.
To help ameliorate the problem and develop strong trading partners which will forestall the rising spectre of ethnic tensions fuelled by the memories of past conflicts to which weakened societies can be vulnerable, the Balkan Economic Forum is working to deliver a fresh impetus to the region with the invaluable help of its members who are in a position to stimulate and support new business growth using innovative strategies and a grass roots approach.
The Balkans are inextricably linked in history as well as destiny. That is why we need to move forward, together, to build a better future for ourselves.
The Balkan Economic Forum (BEF) was established in 2014 for the development and implementation of innovative strategies and creative solutions to the current economic challenges facing the Balkan countries in order to stimulate economic growth which, in turn, strengthens regional cooperation, peace and security.
In furtherance of this mission, the Balkan Economic Forum serves:
- To advance regional economic development by facilitating the creation of diverse investment opportunities with the participation of institutions that offer financial resources.
- To promote sustainable employment growth, socio-economic stability, and the protection of natural resources on which certain industries, food security and public health depend through an awareness of ecological economics.
- To engage academicians, student associations and students in the fields of economics, business management, information technology, law, engineering and international affairs at leading Balkan universities, in programmes that promote multi-cultural cooperation, academic research and business model development to advance global competitiveness.
- To forge alliances that promote peace, security and regional stability with cooperation on priority issues such as corruption.
- To promote international recognition of the Balkan identity by raising public awareness of the value and contribution made by Balkan countries to the wider European and global economies as well as to the preservation of its proud multi-cultural heritage.
The Balkan Economic Forum is independent of any national government, political party or any other vested interest and operates with an inclusive approach that respects universal human rights and recognises the potential of every individual to actively contribute to the achievement of tangible economic development for the social welfare of a region.