Senior officials including deputy ministers of finance from the Western Balkan countries will meet in Vienna on May 27 and 28, 2015 to take stock of the progress, and initiate the EU-REPARIS program which supports corporate financial reporting reform.
Corporate financial reporting is one of the building blocks of a well-functioning market economy. With a view to availability, transparency and reliability of financial information, it supports a business and investment climate conducive to private sector development and growth. It has been shown that trust in the accuracy of financial information expands the access to and reduces the cost of credit - especially important for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The European Union (EU) has over the years developed a comprehensive legislative framework to protect investors and ensure adequate levels of transparency in the market. As candidates or potential candidates for EU enlargement, the Western Balkan countries - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – are in the process of aligning their legislative frameworks with the EU.
A new program, financed by the EU and implemented by the World Bank Centre for Financial Reporting Reform, aims to support countries in their alignment efforts. EU-REPARIS, the Road to Europe: Program of Accounting Reform and Institutional Strengthening, is a regional program offering analysis and advice to the participating countries; learning and skill development; know-how and knowledge transfer; and, technical assistance and institutional strengthening to help them effectively implement financial reporting reform. The program focuses on the particular needs of SME development. It builds on an earlier REPARIS initiative and is an integral part of the EU-led Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) which is support of high-growth and innovative small and medium sized companies.
The workshop will provide an opportunity to take stock of recent reform efforts and encourage sharing of good practices and experience. Western Balkan countries face many common challenges, and insights through peer exchange might help others in the region find workable solutions to national problems. The workshop will also discuss the way forward, and how the new program can best meet the countries’ needs.