ArmInfo. Yerevan hosts the East Invest-2 Annual Conference implemented within Eastern Partnership (EaP) project
The Annual Partner conference provided a unique opportunity for the business support organisations to get an overview of the EU's East Invest 2 project activities and its role in fostering economic cooperation between the EU and Eastern partner countries. It also enabled the businesses to find new cooperation partners and share their experiences. The main focus of this year's conference was the launch of the process for developing a regional position paper on behalf of the business support organisations with recommendations for six Eastern partner countries' policy makers. Participants hold in-depth discussions on the role of the Public Private Dialogue (PPD), the importance of the right processes and procedures for a successful dialogue and best practices for making it work.
In his welcoming speech, Luc Hendrickx, Enterprise Policy Director, European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (UEAPME), said the conference looks to raise the problems of private sector. According to him work in this direction should be more ambitious and influence the process of making political decisions. According to him at the end of the conference an ambitious document will be adopted, which will be presented to political leaders of EU and Eastern Partnership on the summit scheduled next year in Brussels. We do not aim to just hold discussions. We want to learn about the problems of private sector and hear recommendations, which will be considered when developing an important framework document, Luc Hendrickx said. He also noted that despite the crisis and complex situation in Europe Eastern Partnership has developed and as of today there are more than 150 organizations assisting business sector in the countries of EU and Eastern Partnership.
Dirk Vantigem, Director of International Relations of the EUROCHAMBRES Association of European Chambers of Commerce also made a speech at the opening of the conference. He noted the significant role of the organizations assisting businesses in improving dialog between SME and state sector, calling them legal mediators. According to Vantigem it is quite important to increase the role of SMEs in the economies of Eastern Partnership countries, particularly in Armenia. Vantigem recalled that in 1960ies when Europe faced serious economic crisis multinational corporations closed their businesses and the only companies that continued to open new job places and remained stable factor were representing SME sector.
East Invest 2 is an EU funded project within the EU4Business initiative under the Eastern Partnership that started in September 2014. Its general objective is to support the development of a conducive economic environment and competitive private sector in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine), while enhancing trade flows and investments between them and the EU Member States. It offers an opportunity for the business sector from the EaP region and the EU to directly engage in effective cooperation in one of the four priority areas agreed at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga in 2015 which is market opportunities.East Invest 2 target groups are the Business (Support) Organisations (BSOs) and SMEs from the six Eastern Partnership countries, who have a potential for developing mutual cooperation and investment relations with their EU counterparts.The East Invest 2 Annual Partner conference in Yerevan is the second East Invest 2 Annual Partner conference.