A two-day regional conference on the development of small and medium enterprises through EU strategies for the Adriatic-Ionian and Danube regions opened at Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Podstrana, outside Split, on Thursday to discuss how institutions within the Enterprise Europe Network can help in the development of SMEs in the two macroregions.

The purpose of the conference, organised by the European Commission, the Split County Chamber of Commerce and the Enterprise Europe Network, is to help regional policy-makers and stakeholders that provide support to SMEs in the Adriatic-Ioninan and Danube macroregions in the exchange of experience and good practice and in establishing partnerships.

Split Mayor Ivo Baldasar said that one of the main topics would be tourism, while Giacomo Mattino of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said that the aim of the conference was to enable the exchange of ideas and experience and to promote the synergical use of EU funds to improve the development of SMEs.

The Vice-President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) for International and EU Affairs, Zelimir Kramaric, said that he was pleased that the conference was being held in Split because it represented the core of the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion.

"Activities are intensifying. The European Union wants the macroregions to become model examples of cohesion policy fostering the single market and competitiveness. As many as 99 percent of the HGK members are small and medium enterprises, and the whole policy of the EU and the single market and all other policies aimed at supporting the economy are also related to small and medium enterprises," Kramaric said.

He said that the idea was to connect enterprises from the two macroregions through projects based on innovations, research and development, digitisation and other activities that would make them more competitive.

The Enterprise Europe Network is the largest support network for small and medium enterprises and a key instrument in the EU's strategy to boost growth and jobs. It brings together about 600 organisations and institutions from more than 60 countries.

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