OSCE 14th Economic Forum
- Thank you, Chair. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the European Union is very pleased to participate in the first part of the 14th OSCE Economic Forum. We welcome the new format of two interlinked meetings of the Economic Forum in Vienna and Prague, which should allow more high level participation, more dialogue and greater political impact.
- We view the theme of “transport development to enhance regional economic cooperation and stability in the OSCE area” as a most valuable contribution to the Economic and Environmental Dimension of the OSCE. This is very much in line with implementing the strategy decided in Maastricht back in 2003.
- This timely meeting of the Economic Forum is indicative of the strengthened role which the Economic and Environmental Dimension has begun to enjoy during recent years. These positive trends are reason for satisfaction, and we wish to express our gratitude to the past and the new chairmanship and to the OSCE’s able staff to have made it happen.
- Turning to this year’s theme, we believe that the problems of governance concerning the transport sector are key elements which restrict the development prospects, particularly of the two most affected regions, the land-locked countries of Central Asia and of South Caucasus.
- We agree with the Chairman in Office that the deliberations of this important meeting of the Economic Forum should result in concrete recommendations for follow-up. We also share his view that, as he put it so succinctly at the Permanent Council recently: “Let me be clear, the OSCE is not here to build bridges and roads”. Hence the meeting of the Economic Forum should be seen as a forum for political dialogue and expert input, advancing our common objectives.
- We hope that the discussions and conclusions made during this Forum will be taken forward by all interested States so as to make our work a success.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia  and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
 Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process