The International Conference “Access to Finance, Bank Lending and the Banking Sectors in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe” has concluded its works

The Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo in cooperation with the National Bank of Austria and the European Investment Bank has organized high-level International Conference "Access to Finance, Bank Lending and the Banking Sectors in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe”. This conference addressed important issues on banking sector activity in the Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe region and the future of this sector as an important pillar for the financing of the economic development.  
Participants of the conference were field experts from the central bank of the country, central banks of the region and beyond; international and local financial institutions as well as commercial banks.  
The proceedings of the conference opened with the greeting speech of Acting Governor, Mr. Fehmi Mehmeti, and the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Bedri Hamza.
Acting Governor Mr. Fehmi Mehmeti in his opening speech expressed special thanks to both co-organizers of this Conference, the National Bank of Austria and the European Investment Bank, as well as the other attendees who have responded to the invitation to be part of this important event for the banking sector in general.
During his speech, Acting Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Fehmi Mehmeti, has summarized recent developments in the financial sector in Kosovo with a special focus on the banking industry in Kosovo. Mr. Mehmeti emphasized that conferences as such represent a good opportunity to see where the banking sectors of our region are going and how is developing the relationship between them and the economies in which they operate. Among other things, Mr. Mehmeti said that improving of credit portfolio quality is considered as a significant contribution factor for stimulation of bank lending, but the fact that the non-performing loans rate in most of these countries remains above the pre-crisis level, implies that the problems with the loans quality may be preventing an even faster lending growth. For more, the speech of Acting Governor Mehmeti.
Afterwards, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Bedri Hamza, stated the importance of this conference for the banking sector and for economic development in general. He, among other things, emphasized that the organization of this forum purpose is - to talk and discuss issues that are important to our countries, and relying on our experiences and expertise, to work for further reforms in function of faster and more sustainable growth. For more, the speech of Minister Hamza.
On the other hand, Mr. Ruud Vermeulen, the IMF Representative in Kosovo, in his presentation spoke about banking systems in the Western Balkans and their development.
The conference continued with the elaboration of topics that were discussed in the Discussion Panels.
The first panel discussed the topic " Turning the corner? " Discussions on macro-financial stability in the Western Balkans ", consisting of the panelists, Mrs. Elizabeta Gjoni, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Albania, Mr. Fehmi Mehmeti Acting Governor of the CBK,  Mrs. Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, Mrs. Mirjana Mitrović Mijatović from the Central Bank of Montenegro, and Ms. Michaela Erbenova, Executive Director, IMF, Executive Director, CEE Constituency. This panel was chaired by: Ms. Helene Schuberth, Head of the Foreign Research Department - OeNB. 
Regarding the conference and its importance spoke Mr. Jörg Decressin, IMF, Deputy Director of European Department.
The second session of the panelists was chaired by JVI Institute Director, Mr. Tomas Richardson, and the topic was " The new normal for CESEE: reflection on the post-crisis adjustment and new economic model in the region." 
On the topic " Investment and lending landscape in CESEE”, gave a speech Mr. Luca Gattini, European Investment Bank (EIB). 
The third session topic: "Supporting the region", was chaired by Mr. Jan-Axel Voss, Deputy Ambassador in German Embassy in Pristina. 
The conference continued with the presentation of Mr. Mario Holzner from Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW).
The fourth session of the conference was chaired by Mr. Tomas Slacik of the National Bank of Austria (OeNB) on the topic "Banking sector and capital flows in CESEE countries”.   
During the last session selected topics on banking services and access to finance were presented, chaired by Ms. Barbara Marchitto, the European Investment Bank (EIB). 
 Ms. Barbara Marchitto, the European Investment Bank (EIB) listed closing remarks of the conference. Ms. Marchitto thanked the CBK for the hospitality and excellent organization of this conference.