Press Releases

IFC Helps Companies in Southern Europe Reach New Markets

In Washington, D.C.:
Thoko Moyo
Phone: +1 (202) 458-8517


In Belgrade

Slobodan Brkic

Phone: +381 11 3023 750


In Sarajevo

Ivana Curic

Phone: +387 33 251 555


In Skopje

Valentina Paskalova

Phone: +389 2 3223 306


Skopje, FYR Macedonia, May 31, 2007 — IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, assisted Fakom, a construction company based in Skopje, with implementation of the CE marking, an indicator that its products meet all the requirements of applicable European directives. This will help the company grow and improve its competitiveness in the international market. Fakom designs, manufactures, and builds bridges and steel structures for public, industrial, and sports facilities.

Companies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia face great challenges in meeting international standards and increasing exports. To address this, IFC is implementing the International Standards and Technical Regulations Program in the region, which is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Slovenian Ministry of Economy.

“We have been working with IFC to adopt 21 European standards and earn the CE marking for several months. IFC helped us improve our processes and procedures and provided training to our staff. This will usher a new era for Fakom, as we plan to conduct more business in Europe,” said Vladimir Mihajlov, General Manager of Fakom.

“The CE marking is becoming increasingly important as countries in Southern Europe look to possible membership in the European Union and local companies shift their focus to the European market. By helping companies introduce the CE marking, we hope to increase their exports and competitiveness in the European market,” said Philip Condon, head of IFC Advisory Services in Southern Europe.

Many companies in Southern Europe view the international standards as non-tariff barriers. The CE marking was introduced to make trade easier and cheaper. It signifies that a manufacturer declares that its products conform to the minimum legal requirements for health and safety as specified in European Union directives. It also allows companies to market their products freely within the European Economic Area. Often, customers will look for the CE marking to ensure acceptable levels of consumer safety and protection while using or handling the product.

“The International Standards and Technical Regulations Program builds awareness among companies and provides a range of training and consulting services. Fakom’s certification marks the successful end of our first project in FYR Macedonia,” said Ivana Curic, IFC Manager of the International Standards and Technical Regulations Program in Southern Europe.

IFC’s International Standards and Technical Regulations Program is helping companies in Southern Europe introduce a wide range of standards.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products have committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit

IFC Advisory Services in Southern Europe

IFC provides advisory services to support private sector development in Southern Europe and Central Asia. We operate programs in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. The programs concentrate on four business lines: value addition to firms (corporate governance, recycling linkages, international standards, and technical regulations); business enabling environment (alternative dispute resolution, municipal simplification, and competitiveness); access to finance (housing finance, sustainable finance, bank capacity building, and microfinance); and infrastructure advisory services. IFC’s advisory services programs in Southern Europe are jointly financed with Austria, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United States.

To learn more about the International Standards and Technical Regulations Program, please visit or contact Ivana Curic.