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Economic challenges discussed by CEI and VEF in Vienna

In the framework of the Austrian CEI Presidency 2014 the conference “Vienna Economic Talks - Building Bridges in a Challenging Time” was organised in Vienna, on 28 April 2014.

The event served as a platform for discussing cooperation and synergies between the Vienna Economic Forum (VEF) and the Central European Initiative (CEI), especially in view of providing a contribution to the economic development in the countries of both Organisations.
VEF Secretary General, Amb. Elena Kirtcheva, together with CEI Alternate Secretary General, Amb. Margit Waestfelt, and Amb. Heidemaria Gürer, Austrian CEI National Coordinator, welcomed more than 130 registered participants from 26 countries including high-ranking political and economic representatives as members of the VEF, representatives of various regional chambers of commerce, international organisations and international financial institutions as well as representatives from several Embassies in Vienna. The event provided a valuable networking platform among participants from all sectors involved and proved that cooperation is essential to support economic development.

The main topics of discussion were:
- Building Bridges – The Role of the Synergy for the Economic Development of Vienna Economic   Forum and CEI Member Countries;
- Imagine the Future: For a Better Economic Cooperation. Economic Chamber’s and Bank’s Responsibilities;
- Family Business – Role and Perspectives.

Family business was mostly dealt with in respect of its characteristics pertaining to SMEs and to the fact, as stressed, that this business sector now a days represented the backbone of the economies of the VEF and CEI Members. Representatives of business-associations in Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary as well as entrepreneurs from EE and SEE countries held discussions on a comprehensive range of specific aspects of family business, such as the effect of the financial crisis on revenues and finance facilities, risk-taking and succession. The participation of Mr. Matti Vanhanen, Former Prime Minister of Finland, and Executive Director FBN Finland – Finnish Family Firms Association, is a good expression of CEI’s bridging role between European macro-regions.
The Vienna Economic Forum, a private non-profit organisation, was founded according to the Austrian law of associations. In 2011 it was conferred with the status of International Non-Governmental Organization from the Republic of Austria and in 2012 with the Special Consultative Status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

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