If you didn´t
know it you wouldn´t guess that this was the Serbian prime minister. Here was a fairly
young guy, speaking with a low voice (almost difficult to hear sometimes in the
crowded conference in the new Waterfront building in Stockholm city) giving
a bit of a timid if not shy impression.

That was in the beginning.
There soon came points in Mr Vucic´ speech when his voice was raised and his
eyes looked sharp towards the audience. For example when answering a question
how Serbia, an old friend of Russia, were going to do the balancing act in the
relations between Russia and the EU. ”It´s not a question about balance”, Mr
Vucic said sharply. ”Serbia is on
it´s way towards Europe and I have told Mr Putin this face to face, but also
that I do hope that we can still keep our friendly relation with his country”.
Let´s hope Mr Vucic´ ambitions can help mediate in the tense relations between
the EU and Russia.
There were
other occasions in the prime minister´s speech when his voice sharpened and he
looked straight into the Serbian TV camera following him on the trip. At one
such occasion he said: ”Our people often ask me when we will get it better. And
my simple answer to that is: When you work harder. I have said it many times
and I am not afraid to say it again in front of our cameras here”, he said,
looking into the camera, obviously now addressing his own people.

PM Vucic: “I told my people that you have to work harder to get it better”.

After Mr
Vucic it was the Finance Minister, Mr Dusan Vujovic´ turn to speak about the
economic situation in Serbia. Mr Vujovic, a former Director of the World Bank
for many years, was asked a year ago by the prime minister to come back to his
native country and assume the position as the finance minister. This obviously came as
somewhat of a surprise to Mr Vujovic, who nevertheless accepted the job. In his
former position at the World Bank, Mr Vujovic had been helping many countries
to get the economy straight. “But it is another thing to operate on your own
family”, as he called his task to get his own country´s economy back on track.
It looks though, as he is on good way to do just that, as several key numbers
are looking brighter already, for example the fiscal deficit which has improved
considerably during recent months.

Finance minister Vujovic: Operating on his “own family”.

The third
speaker from Belgrade was Mr Marko Cadez, President of the Serbian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry, who talked about his “Business friendly Serbia”. As most
other countries in the region the Serbian government is presenting all
advantages and benefits they can to charm foreign companies to invest in their
country and many have certainly done so already, HM being the most recent and IKEA on its way.
And more may soon join them as there were several representatives from other Swedish companies in the audience.
Mr Cadez´
presentation can be downloaded here, we leave to our readers to judge the
figures for themselves and compare with what other countries in the region have
to offer. Such information can usually be found in the government´s websites.

Eying up the figures: Marko Cadez,
the President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.

Photos by Göran Uvner ©

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