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Director General Šešum attends the OECD High-Level Conference

Dr Slobodan Šešum, Director General for Economic and Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, attended the OECD High-Level Conference on South East Europe in Paris.
Trije moški in ženska sedijo na odru in gledajo proti občinstvu. Moški govori.

Director-General Dr Slobodan Šešum on the panel | Author Ministrstvo za zunanje in evropske zadeve

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At the conference, the OECD launched the fourth edition of its flagship publication Western Balkans Competitiveness Outlook 2024 alongside the related Digital Data Hub that will, for the first time, present the results in an interactive way. Drawing on the findings from the publication, the conference delved into policies that will accelerate the socio-economic convergence of the Western Balkan countries towards the OECD and the EU. Participants discussed ways to foster a sustainable economy in the region by examining the five policy clusters that make up the Competitiveness Outlook 2024: business environment, skills, connectivity and infrastructure, greening and digitisation.

Director-General Dr Šešum participated in a ministerial panel entitled Pathways for Smart Convergence to Boost Competitiveness and praised the OECD South East Europe Regional Programme, which since 2000 has been supporting the economies of the Western Balkans in building economic reforms that lead to sustainable and inclusive growth. He stressed that Slovenia is also sharing its experience and knowledge with the Western Balkan countries on their European journey. Among other things, Slovenia regularly provides technical assistance, most recently to various ministries in North Macedonia and Montenegro for the integration of the EU acquis. Slovenia is also helping with infrastructure projects to meet wastewater management standards. Within the EU, Slovenia has been one of the most vocal supporters of enlargement, knowing from its own experience that European integration works. Indeed, trade between Slovenia and Croatia has more than tripled in less than ten years since Croatia joined the EU. Similar positive effects are expected as other countries in the region join the EU. Enlargement is also strategically important, because we can no longer afford to have a region in the middle of Europe where great powers struggle for supremacy and where several conflicts have broken out in the past, including in the recent past.

Director-General Šešum was joined on the panel by Nik Gjeloshaj, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy of Montenegro, Sandra Dokić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Serbia, Luca Niculescu, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, René Troccaz, Special Envoy for the Western Balkans of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Dr George Christopoulos, Secretary General for Economic Policy and Strategy at the Greek Ministry of Economy and Finance, Christoph Denk, Managing Director for Policy Strategy and Delivery at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Maja Handjiska Trendafilova, Director of ReSPA – the regional intergovernmental organisation supporting public administration reforms in the Western Balkans.

The Conference was organised by the OECD South East Europe Regional Programme.