The Southeast Europe Region Richer for 30 New Investment Destinations

Over the course of its ten-year existence, the International Certification Program for Municipalities with a Favorable Business Environment in Southeast Europe (BFC SEE) helped exactly 100 cities and municipalities that have participated in the program. Sixty-three local governments successfully passed the program and thus acquired the seal of quality proving they provide services to potential investors and the existing economy in accordance with the highest international standards. 

At the regional conference "Partnerships for a more competitive region - CORE days 2022", that takes place on October 17 and 18 in Dubrovnik, as many as seven cities and municipalitie from Serbia, and 30 more from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, will be presented with their certificates and promoted for demonstrating their favorable business environment.  

- In addition to the certificates awarding ceremony, the conference will also mark the official launch of a joint regional platform, that will serve institutions and organizations in Southeast Europe, to exchange knowledge and good practices in implementing reforms and improving business conditions. One of the pillars of the regional platform will be the BFC SEE program. In addition to Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia, which started this type of cooperation in 2012, new partners from the region will join the platform at the conference in Dubrovnik - says Goran Svilanović, adviser for regional cooperation in NALED.  

 The CORE Days 2022 attendees will have the opportunity to see first-hand how the BFC SEE standard helps local governments to strengthen the local economy and attract investment and how to use this resource to stimulate local economic development. 

Cities and municipalities that have passed or are enrolling in the BFC SEE program are also recognized outside the borders of the region. In the "European Cities and Regions of the Future" list published by FDI Intelligence (service of the Financial Times), these local governments are most often ranked as best investment destinations in the Western Balkans region. On the 2022/23 list, the municipality of Laktaši took first place in the category of micro-cities in terms of cost effectiveness, while the second and third are Leskovac and Zrenjanin, ahead of cities and municipalities from the rest of Europe. 

Niš, Kragujevac and Subotica, Skopje, Gradiška, Zvornik and Trebinje are among the top 10 in various categories assessed by FDI Intelligence (existence of investment attraction strategy, economic potential, business environment, etc.). In previous editions, the list also included Šabac, Novi Sad, Sombor, Zaječar, Sremska Mitrovica, Bijeljina, Prijedor, Štip, Prilep and others. These local self-governments are either holders of the BFC SEE certificate or are in the certification process. 

BFC SEE is a unique program in Southeast Europe that offers local governments guidelines for improving the quality of services and information for potential investors and the existing economy, and based on BFC SEE criteria, assesses local business conditions in several countries that implement this program. To acquire the status of a municipality with a favorable business environment, municipalities and cities must fulfill 10 criteria, among which are the existence of an economic development strategy, economic council, adequate infrastructure, efficient services, support for entrepreneurship and cooperation with the private sector, predictability of business expenses, etc. The certificate is valid for three years and must be renewed. 

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