TIRANA, 14 June 2023 - Gerd Müller, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has visited the Western Balkans to highlight UNIDO’s readiness to support industrial development and the process of accession to the European Union.
UNIDO is already actively involved in the three countries included in the Director General’s itinerary: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. Areas of industrial development cooperation include quality infrastructure, the strengthening of trade capacities, innovation ecosystem building, and the implementation of multilateral environment agreements.
In Montenegro, Müller met Jakov Milatović, the newly elected President of Montenegro and former Minister of Economic Development, as well as Prime Minister Dritan Abazović, and Goran Đurović, the current Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Talks focused on new strategic cooperation on industrial development to accelerate EU accession and the energy transition. A working group on cooperation and coordination will be established.
In Albania, where UNIDO has an ongoing country programme and is closely involved in the Smart Specialization Strategy for the EU accession process, the UNIDO Director General met Majlinda Dhuka, Minister of State and Chief Negotiator for EU Integration. They agreed to explore how UNIDO can provide expertise to the government, especially in relation to the accession negotiations on enterprise and industrial policy.
Earlier in the mission, Müller travelled to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he met representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, and Christian Schmidt, the United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In all three countries, Müller highlighted the importance of creating livelihoods for young people, and emphasized the need to build on digitalization and training to help create opportunities. The UNIDO Director General said, “UNIDO offers a platform for knowledge and technology transfer combined with investment promotion. UNIDO can support Western Balkan countries in achieving their industrial development priorities to strengthen economic development and the stability of the entire region.”