INTERVIEW JELENA RADULOVIĆ, PROGRAMME DIRECTOR OF SUMMIT100
I expect the momentum for concrete results
Jelena Radulović, a partner in the Belgrade consulting company, Alba Partners, the programme director of the regional conference Summit100, predicts that this year’s conference, which will take place in Slovenia on 1st and 2nd June in Portorož, moving boundaries. Visionary Radulović, a mathematician by profession, perceives the future as Summit100 adding another zero.
What are the highlights of the Summit100 programme in June?
This year’s event will, on the one hand strengthen the concrete content, and on the other bring new concepts, amongst others a pre-Summit100 with young managers and Summit100 at a special meeting of regional woman business leaders, with the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović.
The programme begins with the European Commissioner for Transport Violet Bulc, and a discussion on how the region can take advantage of smart and innovative transport links to boost competitiveness. This will be followed by a Presidential panel, attended by all heads of state in the region and it will inspire a successful model of regional co-operation, by bringing colleagues from the Nordic Council of Ministers.
So the theme will also be the Juncker development plan?
That’s right – we’ll discuss how you can take advantage of the regional €300 billion development plan as well as on alternative ways of financing regional co-operation projects. An important issue will be the smart city concept. We will host mayors of the major cities in the region, representing almost 40% of GDP of countries. Also this year we will hold creative workshops during the conference, focused on six areas: energy, tourism, transport and infrastructure, food and beverages, digital economy and the knowledge economy. The results of the workshops will be discussed by ministers – such creativity will be transferred to feasible reality and prosperity in the region. The programme ends with an appearance by the Slovenian Prime Minister, Miro Cerar.
How do you keep track of what has been accomplished between the two annual conferences of Summit100?
So far, the activities during the annual meeting have been limited to the work of the Governing Board, which, whilst advancing each year we recognise the need to see quick results, but Summit100 is a long-running concept. Firstly, we have to warm and then run the marathon. The Summit100 mainly annual meeting gives us a series of ideas and energy, but honestly, to date without many tangible results. However, I believe in the mission of Summit100 to create conditions for the accomplishment of these major projects. And believe me: we have done great things so far. The story of regional co-operation that was launched in Aranđelovac (in Serbia) and continued in Bečići (Montenegro) and Cavtat (Croatia) is broader and deeper, and flourishing to become mainstream rhetoric. This is the first step. Political support, which was initially sporadic, is now, for the second consecutive year, an absolute – it is the second step. And thirdly we support partners in Europe, the European Commission and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Now is the time to create concrete results and encourage this forward momentum this year in Portorož.
In the future, may we look forward to Summit100, 2020?
It is only five years and I believe that by then we will have a lot of concrete and finalised projects of regional co-operation; perhaps even the beginning of some institutional support along the lines of the Nordic model in individual segments, such as the creation of a common labour market or co-operation in the energy sector. Summit100 2020 – my dream of adding another zero to the name – Summit1000, champions of regional business co-operation.