CFRR Ministerial Conference, Western Balkans Foreign Ministers Conference and Meeting with Austrian Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Mr. Spindelegger
Laura Tuck, Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Vice President, opened the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Centre for Financial Reporting Reform (CFRR). More than 220 participants from 31 countries, including Ministers of Finance and other senior representatives of governments; banking; business; accountants; auditors; regulators; standard setters; and academics; took part. The conference discussed progress in the implementation of strong systems of financial reporting, crucial to providing confidence in economies and encouraging investment. CFRR programs had contributed to significant improvements in many countries and the collaboration continues. A particular focus of this conference was the recognition that small-and medium-enterprises (SMEs) must be at the heart of policy making. Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, underscored their importance for creating jobs, and enabling people in all social groups to increase their incomes. “Developing environments in which business, especially SMEs, can flourish, is an important element in achieving shared prosperity. Governments need to find the right balance between effective, but not unduly burdensome or restrictive, regulation of business activities”, she said.
Tuck also spoke at the Vienna Western Balkans Conference at Foreign Ministers’ level which was organized by the Austrian Foreign Ministry and attended by Foreign Ministers and State Secretaries of all Western Balkan countries, of the current and next EU-Presidency countries, Greece and Italy, and counterparts from Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Moldova. Commemorating the outbreak of World War I, the conference underlined the importance of the EU as peace project, and Stefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy reflected in his statements on this as well as on the EU’s priorities and policies for enlargement. In her statement, Tuck had the opportunity to speak about the World Bank's response to the devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, as well as about the priorities to return to a higher growth path and creation of jobs across the region. "The World Bank has pursued a dialogue with the countries of the Western Balkans on economic reforms focused on four priorities: (i) First, macroeconomic and fiscal stabilization; (ii) Second, improving competitiveness and connectivity; (iii) Third, enhancing skills and labor productivity, and (iv) Fourth, strengthening governance and anti-corruption efforts", Laura Tuck said.
On the occasion of the visit, Tuck met with the Austrian Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister, Mr. Michael Spindelegger who came to visit the expanded Vienna World Bank Group office. The office space is generously being provided by the Austrian Government. The meeting provided an opportunity to follow up on discussions held during the Spring Meetings. Laura Tuck also had an opportunity to meet with staff from the various Vienna based units.