Balkan leaders hold regional economic summit - Balkan News & Politics

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Balkan leaders hold regional economic summit

Balkan leaders hold regional economic summit

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ne: 24-11-2008, 09:03:06
Croatia's president urged Balkan leaders on Friday to boost economic cooperation as a means of limiting regional fallout from the global economic crisis.

"We can alleviate the consequences of the current crisis by strengthening our mutual economic cooperation," Stipe Mesic said.

"I think that we can help one another on the principle of solidarity, but also (to our) mutual benefit," he said. "We must find mechanisms for better economic cooperation."

Mesic was speaking at a regional economic forum at this Macedonian lakeside resort, also attended by the presidents of Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Balkan economies, still recovering from a decade of wars and conflicts in 1990s, suffer the highest rates of unemployment in Europe.

The leaders warned the global crisis will slow economic growth and hit foreign investment, on which the region is largely dependent, and imported raw materials.

Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski said Balkan bourses had been hit hard.

"The Macedonian stock exchange and other regional exchanges saw a dramatic fall in share prices and trading scope in the last year," Crvenkovski said. "Fortunately, the crisis was not felt strongly in the banking sector. ... Investment banking is almost nonexistent."

The two-day summit opened on Thursday.

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