VIENNA – Viennese companies are the biggest investors in the Western Balkan countries, Vienna Deputy Mayor Johann Gudenus has said, adding that the excellent economic ties must be encouraged in economically difficult times.

At an economic forum in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said that Austria is the biggest investor in Serbia, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that Viennese companies are behind most of the investments.

Quoting figures from the Austrian chamber of commerce, Gudenus said that 500 Austrian companies have invested EUR 2.8 billion in Serbia, with Viennese companies accounting for EUR 1.8 billion.

Around 50 of approximately 400 Austrian companies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina are from Vienna, and Austria is the biggest investor with EUR 1.6 billion invested, a statement quoted Gudenus as saying.

Gudenus also met with Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik and Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic to discuss economic development and cooperation.