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22nd Traditional Garden Party of Vienna Economic Forum in the Paradise - Garden of Villa Flora

Together with the Ambassadors of the Member Countries of Vienna Economic ForumMembers of the VEF - Ambassador Committee, the Secretary General and VEF Founder Ambassador Dr. Elena Kirtcheva and Prof. Mag. Gertrud Tauchhammer, Publisher of Society Magazine, long-standing VEF - Media Partner and VEF Honorary member, invited on 16 June 2023 to the 22nd Traditional Garden Party "Culinary and Musical Journey through the Member Countries of Vienna Economic Forum" in the Paradise Garden of Villa Flora. 

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After the warm welcome words by Prof. Mag. Gertrud Tauchhammer, the Secretary General Amb. Dr. Elena Kirtcheva commenced her opening speech, reflecting on the founding of the beloved VEF - Garden Party in 2002. She also highlighted the subsequent expansion of the commitment to regional cooperation with the founding of the Vienna Economic Forum just two years later in 2004.

Amb. Dr. Kirtcheva extended an invitation to all participants to “to save the date” for the  20th Jubilee Vienna EconomicForum - Vienna Future Dialogue 2023 which under the motto "Economy meets Politics" will take place on 13 November 2023 in the Vienna City Hall –Wiener Rathaus! This notable occasion commemorates the long-standing and commendable efforts of Vienna Economic Forum in its numerous and unwavering commitment to the economic development and consolidation of the entire VEF- Region “From the Adriatic to the Black Sea”.

The President of Vienna Economic Forum, Ambassador Victor Jackovich, President, Jackovich International LLC, USA, emphasized the role of VEF as a place of definition, encounter, and of realising the public and private interests in connection with the various projects in the region as part of a united Europe.

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The present Ambassadors, Members of the Ambassadors Committee of Vienna Economic ForumDiplomats - Representatives of VEF - Member Countries and of the whole diplomatic corps, were invited to take part in the traditional Family PhotoH.E. MagDesislava NAYDENOVA -GOSPODINOVA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Republic of Austria; H.E. Mag. Michaela MOCANU, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to the Republic of Austria; H.E.  Ambassador Dragana RADULOVIĆ, Chargé d'Affaires a.I.. of the Embassy of Montenegro to the Republic of Austria; H.E. Mr. Osvit ROSOKLIJA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of North Macedonia to the Republic of Austria; H.E. Mr. Emilian Horatiu HUREZEANU, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Republic of Austria; H.E. Mr. Ozan CEYHUN, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Türkiye to the Republic of Austria; Mr. Artan CANAJ, Minister, as a representative of Ambassador of Albania H.E. Mr. Roland BIMO; Mr. Ivica DRONJIC, Counselor, Head of consular department, as a representative of the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Dr. Kemal KOZARIĆ; Ms. Kaltrina ADEMI ORUC, First Secretary, as a representative of the Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo H.E. Mr. Lulzim Pllana; Mr. Vadym KOVALEVSKYI, Minister, as a representative of the  Ambassador of Ukraine H.E. MrVasyl KHYMENETS.

Vienna Economic Forum also welcomed a high-ranking presence of the Corps diplomatiqueH.E. Ian David Grainge BIGGS, Ambassador of Australia; H.E. Haytham SHOJAAADIN, Ambassador of Jemen; H.E. Mme. Guna JAPINA, Ambassador of Latvia; H.E. Mme. Lina RUKSTELIENE, Ambassador of LithuaniaH.E. Mme. Susan ECKEY, Ambassador of NorwayH.E. Mr. Magdi A. M. ELNOUR, Ambassador of Sudan, H.E. Annika Lisa MARKOVIC, Ambassador of Sweden, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Samir KOUBAA, League of Arab States, Mr. Gyanveer Singh, First Secretary, India, Mr. Cafer Mert ÖZMERT, Consul General Türkiye, Mr. Tarek KAZEM, Minister, Iraq.

The more than 300 guests were indulged by many of the Vienna Economic Forum member countries with country specific, traditional culinary delicacies. The artistic performances from Albania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Romania were the highlight of the evening and with the regional folk dances encouraging many of the guests to dance along.

The guests have once again enjoyed the unique atmosphere that showed the remarkable connections and shared experiences that connect the people of the Vienna Economic Forum Region “From the Adriatic to the Black Sea”.

The artistic program can be found here. 

Fotocredit: SOCIETY/Karakan


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 Fotocredit: SOCIETY/Pobaschnig


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Copyright: EdiS.


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Vienna Economic Talks – Prishtina Meeting 2023

The Vienna Economic Talks – Prishtina Meeting 2023 took place on 8. May 2023 under the Patronage of H.E. Mr. Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo in Prishtina.

Vienna Economic Forum is proud to have organized this successful event under the Motto "Regional Cooperation in a Fragmented Environment" together with the Government of the Republic of Kosovo.

The discussion highlighted the importance of investments especially during these difficult and critical times, focusing on some of the most important and critical sectors of today’s times: banking, insurance, infrastructure, energy, water management. The high-ranking participants and audience had the opportunity to learn about some of the projects and initiatives presently ongoing in the Republic of Kosovo, the advantages that Kosovo is offering in a time when global investments and economy are in peril and are undergoing profound transformations and tackled the topic of investments remaining sustainable and resilient toward climate change. Furthermore, the absolute necessity and importance of innovation and technology as a precondition for future economic development were discussed and accentuated. Many companies already present at the Kosovo market shared their experiences and presented their near-future development strategies.


Vienna Economic Talks – Prishtina Meeting 2023 under the moderation of Mr. Astrit Panxha, Executive Director and Co-founder, Kosovo Manufacturing Club (KMC) was opened by Ambassador Dr. Elena Kirtcheva, Member of the Board and Secretary General of Vienna Economic Forum who highlighted the excellent and long-standing collaboration between Vienna Economic Forum and the Republic of Kosovo. She stressed that Vienna Economic Forum is the first international organization that Kosovo entered upon the announcement of its independence 15 years ago and how proud VEF is of this fact. In her Opening Statement Ambassador Kirtcheva emphasized the ever-rising importance of regional cooperation and the view to the future always having in mind the consolidation of the VEF region “From the Adriatic to the Black Sea”

In his Introductory Statement Ambassador Victor Jackovich, President Jackovich International LLC, USA, President of Vienna Economic Forum stressed the fact that the businesses and politics are not separable, they are always intertwined. Very often business can precede politics, business can set up the environment in which political solutions can be made more possible. In this regard, Vienna Economic Forum ought to continue its valuable work, the same way it has been doing it in the past 20 years and as an integral part of how VEF views the excellent relationship with the Republic of Kosovo. Vienna Economic Forum will continue its work with Kosovo and continue to assist Kosovo on its path to full and complete Euro-Atlantic integration.

During his Keynote, H.E. Mr. Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo expressed how happy he is having Prishtina serve as a seat from which stronger ties with members of the Western Balkan countries and the Western European partners are forged and his hope that Prishtina serves as a joyous and productive ground for many more talks on cooperation in the future. H.E. Prime Minister Kurti exchanged his thought on regional cooperation and sustainable investments via technological innovation. The Prime Ministers accentuated that aligning the core values of Kosovo with their economic objectives has been the approach with which the Government of Kosovo has set out to master the tasks at hand. H.E. Prime Minister Kurti shared many of the achievements of Kosovo in the past and his enthusiasm about the future, as well as about the ambitious and great years to follow. He especially emphasized that the questions surrounding supply chains, energy security, ethical technological development, climate action and environmental sustainability require that we put our best efforts forward to brainstorm, plan and solve the demands and challenges of the future.  

In her Keynote, Dr. Lilyana Pavlova, Vice President of the European Investment Bank stated that in order to ensure stable, strong, unfragmented and resilient region we must ensure unity and joined efforts despite the multiple challenges we are all facing. She accentuated that nowadays “uncertainty is the new certainty” however at the same time we are given an opportunity to have a more forward looking and visionary approach. At this very moment we need to make sure that there are massive investments, especially in the time of crises. We need to ensure mobilization of the private and the public sector resources together, provide support for the energy transition, decarbonization, digitalization and connectivity. Dr. Pavlova emphasized that in order to step up the support, the European Investment Bank last year created a special branch called EIB Global intended to strengthen the local presence of the EIB in the Balkans and in all of the countries that the EIB is operating in globally in order to ensure a more tailor made, specifical support in delivering the investment.

Vienna Economic Forum gave the Republic of Kosovo an Award for 15 years excellent cooperation and contribution to the economic development on national and regional level. The award was accepted by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo and Patron of Vienna Economic Forum, H.E. Mr. Albin Kurti.

During the Second Session: “Sustainable Investments in Times of Crises and Fragmented Environment”, in her Keynote H.E. Dr. Artane Rizvanolli, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Kosovo accentuated that policy making and investment decision have never been more challenging due to the ongoing crises but at the same time has never been easier in the context of energy independence, renewable energy and fighting climate change where there are clear, no regret investments in the fields of energy transitions and renewable energy which are the top two priorities.

During his Keynote, H.E. Mr. Liburn Aliu, Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure of the Republic of Kosovo stated that renewable energy is one of the sectors in Kosovo where sustainable investments can have a significant impact. The innovative policies of Kosovo for development and job creation combined with the environmental protection policies complement each other. The many ongoing renewables projects will greatly contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr. Christian Schwarz, Head of Corporate Development/M&A at Kelag and Spokesman for the Management Board of Kelag International and Member of the Board of Vienna Economic Forum described in his presentation how the path to renewable energies leads to holistic value creation and emphasized the economic and environmental benefits that come with investing in green technologies. Ms. Merita Gjushinca Peja, M.A., CFO Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo J.S.C. spoke about the importance of the Environmental, social, and governance (ESG)and stressed that Raiffeisen Bank International has been combining financing support with social responsibilities for over 130 years by supporting different sustainable businesses and projects that have a positive impact on society and environment in general. Mr. Genond Mesreja, MBA, CEO, Sigma Interalbanian Vienna Insurance Group Sh.A. Kosovo Branch, highlighted the position of Sigma Vienna Insurance Group as the highest ranked in the insurance market in Kosovo, certified by the Kosovo regulatory institution, Central Bank of Kosovo. Sigma has been accompanying the economic development of Kosovo during the past 15 years by supporting the private and public business in Kosovo via different products more typical for developed, Western countries and markets. Mr. Mustafa Kamal Kafadar, Senior Advisor, Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye Investment Office, Cooperation Partner of Vienna Economic Forum, spoke about the relation of the energy and infrastructure policies to sustainability, a relation which is essential to secure freedom and welfare in the future. He shared Türkiye’s experiences with diversifying its energy constellation and spoke about the importance of regional and international cooperation in creating sustainable economies, environmental policies and climate change. Dipl. Ing. Wolfgang Kröpfl, MBA, CEO, enso group, Austria, Cooperation Partner of Vienna Economic Forum addressed the transition of the energy systems. He presented the rich portfolio of enso GmbH, particularly in Asset management, Project and Portfolio Development, M&A, Operations and Special Task Projects, elaborating on Renewable Energy Projects and on emerging innovations for the integration of the renewables. Mr. Thomas Waclavicek, MSc., Head of Project Implementation, Hydrophil GmbH, Austria, Member of Vienna Economic Forum spoke about the water security in the Western Balkans and the implementation of the ongoing project together with the International Institute for Applied System Analysis for the World Bank looking at the water security in different countries.

The Second Session was finalized with a short Q and A Session with the participants.  

The Third Session: “Innovation and Technology as a Precondition for Future Economic Development”, moderated by Ambassador Victor Jackovich, President, Jackovich International LLC, USA, President of Vienna Economic Forum, commenced with the Impulse Statement provided by Prof. Dr. Danica Purg, President IEDC-Bled Schoold of Management, Slovenia, Strategic Partner of Vienna Economic Forum. Prof. Dr. Purg spoke about the profound relationship with the Republic of Kosovo, especially in terms of academic collaboration. In her contribution she highlighted the importance of the quality in management education and education in general, as well as quality in economic growth and the importance of ethical management.     

In her Keynote H.E. Mr. Rozeta Hajdari, Minister of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade of the Republic of Kosovo stressed the importance of youth as the most valuable resource for economic development. She accentuated innovation and its crucial role in the development of firms but also in the areas of competitiveness, productivity on a national and regional level. Nowadays the strength of the economy is based on the extent of its technological progress. There is a clear vision that by 2030 Kosovo will have a more stable, innovative and competitive industry. Ms. Signe Ratso, Deputy Director-General, Directorate-General “Research and Innovation”, European Commission stressed that particularly in view of the current particularly complex environment, the importance of research and innovation has never been greater. She accentuated the necessity of new technologies and new solutions that can quickly be rolled out, new companies that can grow and reach the necessary critical mass to ensure that Europe can face this challenging context with guarantees of success. In her Keynote Ms. Ratso focused on the Western Balkans Agenda for Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport launched together with the Western Balkan leaders at the Brdo Summit in 2021 and its many results 2 years later, particularly in the area of innovation.

Mag. Stefan Krenn, Secretary General, Novomatic AG, Austria, Representative of the Vice President of Vienna Economic Forum spoke about the innovation play in a gaming technology group like Novomatic AG, as well as the very strong representation of the company in the CEE region and the influence of the technological progress in this region, and accentuated the importance of well-educated and well-motivated employees that are the basis of success, something that can be strongly felt in the region of the CEE. Ing. Wolfgang Schaffer, Senior Project Director, eee austria international projects GmbH, member of Vienna Economic Forum spoke about the importance of vocational training and dual education providing individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to perform specific jobs in various industries. He accentuated that vocational training and dual education are critical components of a healthy economy and elaborated on the intersection of digitalization and digital skills in education. Dr. Georg Serentschy, Managing Partner Serentschy Advisory Services GmbH, member of Vienna Economic Forum spoke about arbitration as an important tool, especially in view of possible disputes when dealing with direct foreign investments where arbitration contributes whether it is a matter of state or commercial disputes. Dr. Erik Sidney Kroiher, Director, International Relations & Business Development, Kapsch TrafficCom AG spoke about mobility guaranteeing and safeguarding the development of infrastructure, being the prerequisites of economic, social and educational development and growth, which require specific conditions. He accentuated the long-standing experience and involvement of the company in many countries, aiming towards making traffic safer, more sustainable, more calculable, controllable and profitable for government, regions and to the benefit of all people. Prof. Dr. Edmond Hajrizi, President, University of Business and Technology (UBT), Republic of Kosovo shared his experience with establishing the University of Business and Technology and about building a new system based on international European standard best practices in transition countries and the impact of this system in society affecting the economic system.    

Vienna Economic Forum is very pleased to be able to share the Statement of H.E. Ms. Arbërie Nagavci
Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Kosovo.

Vienna Economic Forum thanks all cooperation partners for their support AME International GmbH, Bulgarkontrola, LTD, CANON CEE GmbH, enso GmbH, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Jackovich International LLC, Kelag AG, Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, MUNICIPAL GUARANTEE FUND FOR SME SOFIA, Novomatic AG, Austrian Post AG, The Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye Investment Office, Raiffeisen Bank International, Serbian Association of Economists, Sopharma PLC, Steiermärkische Bank und Sparkassen AG, Vienna Insurance Group (VIG), Wien Holding GmbH, as well as the special supporters of the event Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo J.S.C. and Sigma Interalbanian Vienna Insurance Group Sh.A. Kosovo Branch.

The program can be found here.


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