Since January 2016 Berlin Economics can look back to 10 years of successful economic consulting in Eastern Europe. For this occasion, Berlin Economics invited principals, long-term partners, associated consultants and employees for an anniversary celebration.
In reviewing major developments and achievements over the past 10 years, Dr. Ricardo Giucci, the managing director of Berlin Economics, highlighted the particular milestones in the consulting work in Eastern Europe.
“What makes the consulting work of Berlin Economics in Eastern Europe so special, is probably the integration of the regional perspective and our first-hand knowledge of local conditions,” Giucci said. At the outset, it was striking that this specific first-hand knowledge of these Eastern European countries, which are receiving consulting services by Berlin Economics, was largely underused in Germany. Thus, since 2008, two years after Berlin Economics was founded, the company constantly also strengthens its presence in Germany through presentations, briefings or freely obtainable newsletters.
In addition to the expansion of its activities in Germany, also a steady expansion of consulting services to other countries was carried out, in 2010 to the Republic of Moldova and in 2014 to Georgia. Although all of those countries have a common past as part of the former Soviet Union, the differences between these countries could hardly be greater – a fact which quite often does not receive sufficient attention even to this very day.
The signing of the Association Agreements with Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia in 2014 can certainly be considered as a milestone and possibly also a turning point regarding the qualitative consultancy work. Since the beginning of the negotiations the association was continuously accompanying the work of Berlin Economics. Also, since 2014 the actual implementation of these agreements implies a growing need for advisory work.
For the future we continue to expect increasing demand for consultancy work, Giucci said. The region is undergoing a transition process which Berlin Economics – as a matter of course – is going to steadily accompany hereafter.
Giucci was followed by the Authorised Representative and Project Manager, Robert Kirchner, who stressed the peculiarities of the consultancy work conducted by Berlin Economics. A number of quality criteria have ever since ensured successes of our consultancy work and distinguished Berlin Economics from other consulting institutes, Kirchner said.
Since the onset of the consultancy work, Berlin Economics emphasises the importance of consulting the high-ranking partners in the target institutions. Hence, our recommendations are directly delivered to the decision-making bodies, Kirchner explained. We also maintain close contact with our principals, whether it is in Berlin or in Brussels, which always facilitates collaboration.
Also by maintaining a close dialogue with authorities and business associations, we ensure the consultation of the interests of businesses, which Berlin Economics therefore involves in the advisory processes. But this never entails a limitation of our independence, stressed Kirchner. Rather the consultancy work and recommendations provided by Berlin Economics are based on an analytical foundation which always takes into account the complexity of contexts and rapidly changing circumstances. The fact that Berlin Economics is able to consult thematically broad and well-founded is owed to the large network of proven experts with practical experience. Moreover, this thematically broad base is supplemented with the involvement of local experts who can guarantee specific knowledge of the country and its institutions. Kirchner emphasized that the cooperation with the local partner institutes of Berlin Economics always happens on eye level – and therefore contributes to sustainable capacity building and mutual knowledge exchange.
Thus, this model of consultancy work is most beneficial for both the partner countries and an increasing number of German institutions, Kirchner said.
Also, the head of section at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Obersteller pointed out these mutual benefits. Obersteller particularly emphasised the quality of the work of Berlin Economics, which is characterised by demand orientation and the appreciation by the institutions of the advised countries and is also not presumed as a decree. The continuous expansion of contracting authorities is in particular due to the qualitative foundation of the consulting work.
Alexander Markus from the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK) in Kiev expressed his gratitude to Berlin Economics for the many years of good cooperation, which has been characterised by constructiveness and mutual support. Berlin Economics cooperates with business representations in the partner countries in form of lectures, discussion papers and business briefings.
Prof. Jörg Franke, who is with Berlin Economics as a financial sector expert, stressed the productive cooperation and amused the audience with a story of the everyday challenges of consulting work regarding last but not least the Eastern European weather and headstrong methods of traffic calming in Minsk. He concluded that the consultants are cost conscious, always on time, and stay calm in difficult situations.
Veronika Movchan from the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (IER Kiev), which is a long-time partner of Berlin Economics, spoke about the peculiarity of the consultants’ dedication in Ukraine. It should not be regarded as self-evident that foreign consultants were traveling not only at difficult but also at dangerous times to Kiev as in the days of February 2014 in order to pursue their work. Berlin Economics is conducting probably the longest operating Technical Assistance Program in Ukraine (since 1994), which therefore has proved its worth. Since the beginning, there is great variety of the programme´s themes which includes fundamental topics such as economic liberalisation, institution-building as well as economic crisis management. Now reaching a new era of economic development – Movchan expressed her hopes that the valuable advisory work of Berlin Economics will persist even in this time of upheaval.
The team of Berlin Economics looks confidently towards another 10 years of economic policy consultancy work in Eastern Europe. We thank all principals, partners, employees and associated consultants for their trust and fruitful cooperation, and we look forward to continue this corporation in the future!
Fotos: © A. M. Ludwig