By Talha Ozturk
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Regional economic conference Montenegro 2018 began in the country's Budva city on Thursday.
The two-day conference, titled "Balkans and EU — a five-year cycle of the Berlin Process", was inaugurated by several officials, including Montenegrin President Milo Dukanovic, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and head of Montenegro's Chamber of Commerce Vlastimir Djukanovic.
Djukanovic pointed out the importance of the vision of a united Europe and said that the refugee crisis shows the significance of the Western Balkans to Europe.
He stressed that they attach great importance to regional cooperation, and that strengthening ties are very critical and progress was made in this regard.
"We all lose in a European scenario where the Balkans are not included," said Djukanovic.
Meanwhile, Kurz said that the Western Balkan countries were in their best period regarding the EU accession process.
"Austria supports the Western Balkan countries' EU membership. The EU cannot be complete without the Western Balkans," said Kurz.
He added that Montenegro and Serbia are well on their way towards the EU membership, and wished the dialogue process between Serbia and Kosovo would be successfully resolved as soon as possible.
More than 600 participants from countries of the region gathered at the conference.
Meanwhile, the prime ministers of the Western Balkan countries will discuss the region’s economic and European perspective in a special panel.
The conference will end Friday.