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International Round Table on Balkan Cross-Border Enforcement

International Round Table on Balkan Cross-Border Enforcement

In the Montenegrin coastline town of Przno (Sveti Stefan), on October 19, 2018, Balkan Enforcement Initiative (BEI) hosted its First International Round Table on Cross-Border Enforcement in Commercial Matters in the Western Balkan region. The BEI International Round Table was outlined as a dialogue between relevant state representatives, judicial officers and the business community with respect to the topic of cross-border enforcement in the region, in the context of enhancing free trade based on the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

The 2018 BEI International Round Table participants introduced participants from the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Montenegro, and the Republic of Serbia.

In her welcome address, Vesna Medenica, president of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, reiterated the relevance of the selected topic, expressing her support to a regional dialogue on streamlining cross-border enforcement in the region, and the importance which the profession of self-employed judicial officers plays in that dialogue.

Representatives of national ministries of justice, Mrs. Teuta Vodo, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Albania, Mrs. Jelena Deretić, Assistant Minister of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, and Mrs. Marijana Laković Drašković, Director General of the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice’s Directorate for Judiciary Organization, Penal Legislation, and Supervision, unanimously communicated their recognition of the importance of introducing improvements in the current legal framework with respect to cross-border enforcement procedures in the Western Balkan region. National ministries of justice understand the value of establishing mutual cooperation dedicated to facilitating improvements in cross-border enforcement.

Representatives of the Region’s business community (Albanian Association of Banks and the Montenegrin Chamber of Commerce), together with the representatives of national chambers of judicial officers were clear and straightforward in their understanding that the Western Balkan region needs improvements in cross-border enforcement, and that a simplified transfer of enforceable titles between the jurisdictions would have a tangible beneficial effect to their economies.

At the end of its 2018 International Round Table, Balkan Enforcement Initiative expressed its dedication to promoting the concept of a Balkan Enforcement Order in the Western Balkan Region and offered its systematic support in its implementation, highlighting that the profession of judicial officers is not in a position to do more than to offer its technical assistance, while any changes in the current legal framework are in the sole competence of national governments.

The joint conclusion of the 2018 BEI International Round Table on Cross-Border Enforcement participants was that all relevant stakeholders have recognized the importance of the issues at question and are willing to join their efforts in order to reach a commonly beneficial solution. 

Balkan Initiative’s First Annual Reunion

Balkan Initiative’s First Annual Reunion in Montenegro

On August 31, 2018, the heads of Balkan Enforcement Initiative member chambers had their regular Council meeting, held at the Maestral Hotel, situated on the Montenegrin coastline. This meeting carries a special importance to the Initiative members, since it was convened a year after their initial conference was conducted at the same place, making it its first annual jubilee.

The participants to the Montenegrin meeting were: Tedi Malaveci, president of the Albanian Chamber of Private Bailiffs, Zoran Dimov, president of the Chamber of Enforcement Agents of Macedonia, Premtim Qerimi, member of the Board of the Chamber of Enforcement Agents of Macedonia, Vidak Latković, president of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Montenegro, Vladan Vujović, member of the Board of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Montenegro, and Aleksandra Trešnjev, president of the Serbian Chamber of Judicial Officers.

The topic of the meeting was the arrangement of a Round Table dealing with the issues pertinent to cross-border debt collection and enforcement practices in the Western Balkan region. The outlined Round Table is to be hosted by the Balkan Initiative, inviting the relevant key stakeholders from the Western Balkans to take active part in its work.

Alongside proven think-tanks, foundations, domestic and international research organizations and professional association dealing with the issues relevant to enforcement of contracts, operating in the Balkan region, the Round Table is predominantly interested to assist and enhance a dialogue between key contributors from various governmental departments or agencies, like justice departments, economy and finance departments, the judiciary, chambers of commerce, and so on.

The Western Balkan Enforcement Round Table is scheduled for October 2018, and it will be held in Montenegro.

The meeting was moderated by Damir Šite, general secretary of the Balkan Enforcement Initiative.

Round table: Balkan Enforcement Order – Pros and Cons

Round table: Balkan Enforcement Order – Pros and Cons

On July 6, 2018, in the conference hall of Serbia Palace in Belgrade, hosted by the Serbian Chamber of Judicial Officers, Balkan Enforcement Initiative members took part on a round table dedicated to the topic of introducing a unique regional instrument on cross-border enforcement: the Balkan Enforcement Order.

Beside Balkan Enforcement Initiative member chambers’ representatives, the participants to the Round table included Serbian Ministry of Justice, Serbian Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, the Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Serbia, the Commercial Court of Appeal of the Republic of Serbia, Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Serbian Bar Association, National Alliance for Local Economic Development, Association of Serbian Banks, USAID, GIZ, and the Foreign Investors Council.

In the opening of the Round table, representatives of the Balkan Enforcement Initiative members, Mrs. Aleksandra Trešnjev (Serbia), Mr. Tedi Malaveci (Albania), Mr. Zoran Dimov (Macedonia), and Mr. Vidak Latković (Montenegro) introduced the topic by elaborating the profession’s joint affirmative view on creating a single regional legal instrument on cross-border enforcement.

During the discussion, various ideas and remarks were suggested, like Justice Nikolić’s (the Commercial Court of Appeal) recommendation that such an instrument in commercial matters might be limited to a certain nominal value, or the one coming from Mr. Predrag Ćatić (Association of Serbian Banks), seconded by Serbian Chamber of Commerce, that businesses would highly benefit from up to date information on how to collect book debts in the region at the moment.

USIAD and GIZ representatives expressed their compliments to the regional chambers, of which the oldest one was established in 2006, while some of them being more recent, in that they have been able to develop to an extent which is sufficient for conducting joint activities. It was also stressed that the Initiative member's cooperation is based on experiences coming from the region itself, which are far more valuable to their profession, than those coming from jurisdictions in which self-employed judicial officers are present over several decades, or even centuries.

In conclusion, the participants to the Round table came to a unanimous understanding that cross-border enforcement in the region needs improvement, and that the idea of a Balkan Enforcement Order, based on extensive EU experience with Brussels I (recast), is a solid basis for introducing a similar international legal instrument in the region, in order to advance the EU concept of Four Freedoms within the Western Balkan jurisdictions.

The Round table was moderated by Damir Šite, general secretary of the Balkan Enforcement Initiative.

Memorandum of Cooperation signed in Belgrade

Memorandum of Cooperation signed in Belgrade

The founding members of the Balkan Enforcement Initiative signed the first quadrilateral agreement of cooperation encompassing their national chambers, in the conference hall of Serbia Palace in Belgrade, on July 6, 2018.

In the welcome address to the signing ceremony, the president of the Serbian Chamber of Judicial Officers, Mrs. Aleksandra Trešnjev, stressed that the Memorandum signatories are coming from jurisdictions which, though not yet members of the EU, and maybe even so due to that fact, have to create a more interactive business environment. In her opinion one of the prevailing reasons why the current trade level in the region is to be regarded as underdeveloped, though it covers a population of over 12 million, might be detected in rather onerous and time consuming cross-border debt collection procedures.

Speaking on behalf of all the signatories’ statutory representatives, she highlighted that the Balkan Enforcement Initiative, created by the signed Memorandum of Cooperation, offers its utmost assistance in achieving that goal.

Mrs. Jelena Deretić, assistant to the Serbian minister of justice, in her address noted that the Serbian Ministry of Justice, having in mind that the Republic of Serbia has signed bilateral agreements of judicial assistance in civil and criminal matters with the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Montenegro, and also being highly interested in signing a similar legal document with the Republic of Albania, simultaneously supports the idea of creating a unique legal instrument which would expedite cross-border enforcement in the region.

Mrs. Ljubica Milutinović, deputy president of the Serbian Supreme Court of Cassation, reminded the signing ceremony’s guests that this is not the first occasion on which the topic of a regional enforcement title is being drawn to the general attention, and that almost a decade ago a similar instrument was drafted, which speaks of the importance such ideas have in the region. In conclusion, she highlighted that the Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Serbia gives its unequivocal support to the Balkan Initiative in furthering this idea.

The signing ceremony was honoured with the attendance of a number of esteemed guests, including Serbian Ministry of Justice, Serbian Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, the Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Serbia, the Commercial Court of Appeal of the Republic of Serbia, Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Serbian Bar Association, National Alliance for Local Economic Development, Association of Serbian Banks, USAID, GIZ, and the Foreign Investors Council.

Third Balkan Initiative Meeting

The Third Balkan Initiative Meeting

On June 1, 2018 in the Conference room of Granit Hotel, by Lake Ohrid (Macedonia), the third general meeting of the heads of Balkan chambers of judicial officers was held in order to develop a number of practical issues related to their further mutual cooperation.

The participants to the meeting were: Tedi Malaveci, president of the National Chamber of Private Bailiffs of Albania, Zoran Dimov, president of the Chamber of Enforcement Agents of the Republic of Macedonia, Antoncho Koshtanov, member of the Board of the Chamber of Enforcement Agents of the Republic of Macedonia, Vidak Latković president of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Montenegro, and Aleksandra Trešnjev, president of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of the Republic of Serbia.

The meeting was moderated by Damir Šite, interim General Secretary of the Balkan Initiative.

The Balkan Initiative Members discussed the draft version of the Memorandum of Cooperation of Balkan Chambers of Judicial Officers. The Memorandum, as the first multilateral agreement among Balkan chambers is a so far unexampled written instrument dedicated to formalizing and furthering their future cooperation, thus improving the judicial officers’ profession as well, but also the overall legal environment in the Balkan region.

The Memorandum of Cooperation of Balkan Chambers of Judicial Officers is set to be finalized and signed by the heads of Balkan chambers on July 6, 2018, in Belgrade.

The Tirana Meeting

The Tirana Meeting

On December 13, 2017 the second meeting of the heads of the Western Balkan enforcement chambers was held in the headquarters of the Albanian Chamber of Private Bailiffs. The meeting was dedicated to issues related to the further development of their joint activities.

The participants to the meeting unanimously agreed that the need for efficient cross-border enforcement is of upmost importance to the Balkan region's business community since both state and private companies face serious challenges in their attempts to successfully recover their outstanding balances from foreign clients and customers.

The Initiative, in order to offer a pragmatic tool for circumventing the detected problem, has decided to conduct a comparative analysis of cross border enforcement opportunities in the region in commercial matters. For this reason, the Initiative created a separate Comparative Study Working Group. The members of the Working Group are: Ms. Edisa Theodori (Albania), Mr. Antoncho Koshtanov (Macedonia), Mr. Vladan Vujović (Montenegro), and Mr. Damir Šite (Serbia).

The comparative analysis on cross-border enforcement in the Balkan region in commercial matters is outlined for publishing in 2019.

The Initial Meeting of Western Balkan Enforcement Chambers

The Initial Meeting of Balkan Enforcement Chambers

On September 29, 2017 the initial meeting of the heads of the Western Balkan chambers of judicial officers was held on the Montenegrin coast, dedicated to addressing issues related to cross-border enforcement in the region.

The participants to the first Balkan enforcement chambers’ meeting were: Tedi Malaveci, president of the National Chamber of Private Bailiffs of Albania, Jordancho Davorkovski, and Blagoj Banjanski, members of the Board of the Chamber of Enforcement Agents of the Republic of Macedonia, Radica Lazarevska Geroska, government adviser at the Macedonian Ministry of Justice, Vidak Latković president of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Montenegro, Vladan Vujović, member of the Board of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Montenegro, and Aleksandra Trešnjev, president of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of the Republic of Serbia.

The meeting was moderated by Damir Šite, a judicial officer from the Republic of Serbia.

The Initiative members unanimously held that the issues related to enforcement of cross-border claims in the region is of an upmost interest to the Western Balkan Enforcement Chambers, and they were unified in joint determination to more actively further its practice in the future. The members have also decided to nominate Damir Šite, a judicial officers from the Republic of Serbia, as their Enforcement Cooperation Initiative’s interim general secretary.

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