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Sweden - Southeast Europe News Site


to the news site of the Chamber of Commerce for Sweden - Southeast Europe in cooperation with Business Sweden and Governments and Organisations in SEE.

EU to open entrance talks with Serbia

Serbia Posted on Sat, December 05, 2015 20:19:18


December 03, 2015 4:26 PM


European Union said Thursday that it would open the first two so-called
chapters of accession talks with Serbia this month, rewarding the country for a
series of accords with its former Kosovo province despite their patchy

chapter will focus on relations with Kosovo, which broke away during a war in
1999 and declared independence in 2008. Serbia does not recognize its former
southern province as sovereign, but has struck a series of deals brokered by
the EU to try to regulate relations between the two.

and Western diplomats say implementation of the agreements has been piecemeal
at best on both sides, but the EU is keen to keep Serbia anchored in the
process of Western integration to counter what diplomats say is growing Russian
engagement in the Balkans.

am looking forward to the 14th [of December], when we can expect the chapters
to be open for more detailed negotiations,” EU foreign policy chief
Federica Mogherini said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe in Belgrade.

talks will begin with chapters 35 and 32, on Kosovo and financial controls.

will be coming to Brussels with big expectations and the firm belief that
Serbia belongs to Europe,” Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said
after meeting Mogherini.

Vucic was
information minister at the tail end of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic’s
disastrous rule during the 1990s, when federal Yugoslavia collapsed in conflict
and Serbia was bombed by NATO to halt its killing and expulsion of ethnic
Albanians from Kosovo during a counterinsurgency war.

Once a
devoted ultranationalist, Vucic has rebranded himself as a pro-Western
reformer, but critics and some Western diplomats remain worried about freedom
of expression and the media in Serbia.

insists it will never recognize Kosovo, but it is likely to come under pressure
to do more to settle relations the nearer it gets to EU membership, a process
that will take years.

The EU
itself remains divided on Kosovo sovereignty, recognized by 23 of the bloc’s 28

Serbia and Sweden sign agreement on development cooperation

Serbia Posted on Thu, April 30, 2015 11:41:09

Serbia’s Minister without portfolio in charge of European integration Jadranka Joksimovic and Swedish Ambassador to Belgrade Christer Asp on 23 April signed the Agreement between Serbia and Sweden on development cooperation for the 2014-2020 period.

After the signing of this document in the Serbian government, Joksimovic explained that over the next five years, Sweden will allocate €12 million annually for development programmes and projects relating to democracy, human rights and the improvement of the environment in Serbia. Serbia’s European path aims to improve the lives of citizens, she repeated, and pointed out that Sweden is a true example of the rule of law and respect for all human rights and minority rights.

Sweden is also one of the largest bilateral donors to Serbia, which is why our country should continue to have Sweden as a role model for reforms, Joksimovic underlined.
According to her, since 2000 Sweden has given grants to Serbia in a total amount of €210 million.

Asp explained that the agreement signed aims to identify priority areas in which Swedish development assistance will be implemented, noting that it is very important for the Swedish government as it confirms the excellent cooperation between the two countries to date.

The agreement also validates Sweden’s commitment to helping Serbia develop and become a better place for its citizens, he said and added that the projects that will be implemented will facilitate Serbia’s entry into the EU.
We will walk by your side until the day Serbia becomes a full EU member, Asp stated reports the Government. (

TetraPak opens new warehouse in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Fri, April 10, 2015 11:21:09

Swedish packaging giant Tetra Pak opened on Tuesday a new warehouse for finished products in the Serbian town of Gornji Milanovac according to news in It is part of the company’s investment totaling EUR 11.9 million over the past two years. The new warehouse, covering an area of 4,000 square meters, is planned to employ 38 people.
The investment in Gornji Milanovac reflects Tetra Pak’s global production strategy for a more efficient use of the network of 40 factories around the world.

This is very important for Tetra Pak facilities in Europe and Central Asia, the company’s largest business cluster, said Charles Heaulme, vice president of the division, at the opening ceremony. With a total of 277 clients and 91 percent of production intended for export, the factory in Gornji Milanovac is one of the most successful ones in the company’s network, he noted. Today, this is our most efficient production facility in Europe and Central Asia, said Heaulme.

Telenor bank has already 50.000 mobile bank accounts in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Fri, April 10, 2015 08:55:00

Telenor bank opened 50.0000th current account since in September they started operating at the market of Serbia which ranked it among the fast growing mobile online banks in the CEE region according to news in Ekapija daily news.
In the first six months, the bank succeeded in forming solid base for further development of mobile banking thanks to synergies of telecommunications and financial services with an average monthly rate of the opened current accounts of 53%, Telenor bank announced.
– We are focused on financial services which are used simply and transfer of traditional banking to innovative customer-oriented mobile solutions – Executive Manager and the president of the Executive Bard at Telenor bank – Martin Navratil.
In Telenor bank, all citizens of Serbia can open multi-currency current account with contact-free debit , Mastercard card, to change money at favorable exchange rates, send funds abroad and do other kinds of payments. Read more in Telenor´s website here.

Russia and USA are battling in Serbia. Over Telekom

Serbia Posted on Thu, February 26, 2015 16:51:17

Russian and US interests might clash in the pending privatisation of Telekom Srbija as bidders from both countries are expected to step forward for the auction later this year, daily Blic reported on February 25, quoting unnamed sources. “Blic” continues by saying that one of the biggest Russian companies wants to buy Serbian Telekom. This decision is not just economical, but also strategical.
On the other hand, Americans will not be standing on the side. They are already preparing counter-offer as an answer to Russian attempt of taking over the largest telecommunications company in Serbia.
“Blic” didn’t find out which Russian company sent an offer for “Telekom”, but there are several names. First of all is of course, “Gazprom telecom”, which tried in 2012. to enter this region through Slovenia. There is also Miloš Fridman, one of the wealthiest Russians in the world, and his partner Mehmet Karamehmet. They are the owners of “Alfa” and “System holding”, companies with the majority in Russian telecommunications company – MTS.
Russians think that buying “Telekom” is the best way for them to form a good strategic position in Serbia and western Balkans. Moscow is affraid that Serbia is turning towards the West. Meeting between Aleksandar Vučić and Joe Biden was understood as a sign of “USA taking over Serbia”. That’s why “Russia today” openly criticized Prime Minister Vučić for almost two days, especially his statement in which he said that “Serbia considers alternative ways for gas supplying”.
John Kerry, United States Secretary of State, said that “Serbia is on line of fire between Russia and the USA”.

Did you know there is a Business forum on Linkedin for people who do business between Sweden and the countries in Southeast Europe? Apply for your free membership here.

PM Vucic in Stockholm: “Serbia is definitely going with the European Union!”

Serbia Posted on Mon, February 16, 2015 11:10:47

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 ©

Did you
know there is a Business forum on Linkedin for people who do business between
Sweden and the countries in Southeast Europe? Apply for your free membership here.

Serbia grateful to Sweden for continuous support

Serbia Posted on Wed, February 04, 2015 13:01:10

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic last Monday met in Stockholm with Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Lofven.
Vucic told reporters after the meeting and a luncheon that he hopes that Serbia will be able to implement all reforms and that once it obtains the arrangement with the IMF and the package of economic measures it will manage to attract more foreign investments.
The Prime Minister thanked the government of the Kingdom of Sweden for the aid provided to Serbia after the floods, as well as for the continued support regarding the European integration of Serbia.
Lofven pointed out that Sweden supports the enlargement of the EU because it brings stability and prosperity throughout Europe, and expressed the hope that Serbia should become part of the European family as soon as possible.
Vucic invited the Swedish Prime Minister to visit Serbia, which is Lofven accepted and promised that the visit will follow soon.
Read more and watch a video from the press conference in Stockholm on the Serbian Government website here.

Wizz Air to introduce Malmö-Nis flights from June 25

Serbia Posted on Mon, January 26, 2015 16:20:39

Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air plans to launch flights between Sweden’s Malmö and the third largest city in Serbia, Nis, as of June 25, news service bne IntelliNews reported on January 26.

The route to and from Malmö will be operated three days a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – the airliner’s executive vice president John Stephenson told a news conference in Nis, southern Serbia.

Stephenson said the company has been present in Serbia for four years now, transporting 1.6 million passengers. He added that the Nis-Malmö route was picked after a detailed market analysis.

Nis mayor Zoran Perisic told the same news conference that some 320,000 Serbs live in Sweden, many of them in the Malmö region.

Welcome to a Serbian-Swedish Business Event in Stockholm

Serbia Posted on Sat, January 17, 2015 16:00:02

The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia to Sweden and the Serbian Swedish Business Council are inviting the members of the Chamber of Commerce to a Serbian Swedish Business Event to be held in Stockholm on 2 February, 2015 at 9:30 on the occasion of the visit by H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia.
The event presents an opportunity for the Prime Minister of Serbia to illustrate his approach to economic reforms in the Serbian market, as well as for Swedish business representatives to learn about and explore different investment and trade opportunities in Serbia.
Register your interest in participating in the forum by sending an e-mail to referring to “member in the Chamber of Commerce Sweden-Southeast Europe”. The venue will be announced soon.

Telekom Srbija to be partially or fully privatised following new IMF deal

Serbia Posted on Sun, November 09, 2014 13:18:09

Serbia’s potential new arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to set out plans for 12 key state-owned companies, finance minister Dusan Vujovic told TV broadcaster RTS. The new programme will define the steps the 12 companies shall undertake, including reducing wages – the first time that such conditions have been included in an agreement between Serbia and the IMF.
The 12 firms include Telekom Srbija, railways operator Zeleznice Srbije, power grid operator EMS, power producer EPS, postal operator Posta Srbije, state roads operator Putevi Srbije and water resources management firm Srbijavode.
Some, probably including Telekom Srbija, will be fully or partially privatised. Some just need restructuring to become more effective, while others may be offered to investors under concession agreements.
Telekom Srbija needs a strategic partner as the company is struggling to compete with rival operators without external financing, Vujovic said. The government also hopes to raise substantial revenues for the sale of the telecoms operator.
Read more in the news.

Telenor takes Mobile Banking to Serbia – Opens Telenor Banka

Serbia Posted on Sun, September 14, 2014 11:45:35

Telenor last week announced the opening of its first wholly-owned financial institution, Telenor
Banka in Serbia, providing customers with mobile and online banking services.
The digitization of cash payments and the convenience of online and mobile
banking are expected to stimulate financial and economic growth in Serbia,
where some 80 percent of transactions are currently performed in cash.

Via an
agreement with MasterCard, consumers in Serbia will be able to access the
bank’s own and other ATMs for money withdrawals and deposits. Telenor Banka
customers will be able to open their account at Telenor service shops across
Serbia and all transactions can be handled via an app on mobile phone, tablet or PC. According to Kjell-Morten Johnsen, EVP and Head of Region Europe, the
group is evaluating the establishment of financial services in other Telenor
markets in Europe. Read more in Telenor´s own pressrelease here.

Which country has the best investment climate in Eastern Europe today?

Serbia Posted on Wed, May 07, 2014 17:17:11

Guess many governmental investment officers would want to have their country rated at the top. But this Swedish guy, who should know what he is talking about, is prepared to rate one Balkan country as the No. 1. Mats Pousette has a long experience from Serbia since he was working with companies like Åhlen & Rausing and Tetrapak in Serbia already back in the 90`s. Read what he thinks about Serbia as an investment country in this newsletter.
Anyone having another suggestion? Feel free to comment here.

One of Europe’s best-kept tourism secrets?

Serbia Posted on Wed, May 07, 2014 10:29:50

Several places in the Balkans want to draw attention to tourists by claiming they are “the best kept secret” or “forgotten paradise”. This country has managed to get a British newspaper to agree. Read their report here.

Swedish contest for smart living innovations starts in Belgrade

Serbia Posted on Wed, February 26, 2014 10:53:21

Smart Living Challenge SLC is an open international innovation competition designed to generate business opportunities and ideas that foster a sustainable lifestyle in urban environments. This could be products, services and solutions that will make it easier for individuals to live smarter and more sustainable lives. The SLC innovation contest is presented by the Swedish Institute, and is open to anyone interested in presenting ideas on how to make daily life more sustainable. The first presentation in Belgrade planned for March 2014, is organized in collaboration with the Design incubator Nova Iskra and the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade. More info about the SLC program is available at the Design incubator Nova Iskra web site.

The 15 winners will be awarded a trip to visit Swedish cutting-edge spots for smart urban life. There, they will have the opportunity to meet, network and exchange ideas with actors in the Swedish innovation system. The deadline for submitting ideas to the official website ( is July 1, 2014. All the submitted ideas and further information about the challenge can be viewed at the website.

Locally, a number of workshops will be presented, with selected facilitator from Sweden and local experts. These guest workshops are to be held in 10 different countries, while the first presentation of the program outside of Sweden will be in Belgrade, Serbia, in collaboration with Design incubator Nova Iskra and SwedishEmbassy in Belgrade. The three sessions will be held on March 7th and 8th 2014.

Are you a Swede interested in doing business with Southeast Europe? Or someone in that region having business relations with Sweden? Then you are very welcome to join our web forum here.

A world without passwords – Will it begin in Serbia?

Serbia Posted on Tue, January 28, 2014 21:39:36

This is at least what Kristofer von Beetzen at Verisec, a rapidly growing Swedish
IT security company, says they are working on in their Serbian based operation.
The statement is made in the latest newsletter published by the Serbian embassy
in Sweden. Mr von Beetzen is, however, not revealing any details on how their Serbian experts are going to solve the delicate problem with all these passwords that everyone of us is struggling with. Let´s hope
the Serbs have some magic tricks up their sleeves that no one before them has
managed to pull out. And please Mr Beetzen, don´t hesitate to share a bit more
of your Serbian secret with us. We are dying to know how they will do it.
Read the full interview with Kristofer von Beetzen here together
with these articles:
• EU accession Talks Opened
• Incentives for
renewable energy generation in 2014 doubled
• Financial Times:
Vranje among top 10 business destinations in Europe

Bildt´s Christmas tweet to Serbia: “You´ve got green light and it´s good for the region”

Serbia Posted on Fri, December 27, 2013 13:53:44

EU ministers for European affairs on December 17 in Brussels approved the negotiating mandate for the accession negotiations with Serbia and evaluated the progress on the enlargement and stabilisation and association process.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Carl Bildt stated positive words about the announcement in his blog and tweeted: “Green light for start of EU accession talks for Serbia. And good negotiating framework. Important for entire region.

Svensk premiär för filmen om Belgrad

Serbia Posted on Sun, December 01, 2013 22:21:59

Välkommen till den svenska premiärvisningen av filmen om Belgrad, staden som på kort tid har kommit att bli det nya resmålet för alla de som vill uppleva det genuina och charmiga Europa uppblandat med en ny ungdomlig atmosfär med ett pulserande nattliv.

Vid premiären kommer regissören bakom filmen, Boris Malagurski – han som fått epitetet Balkans Michael Moore – att närvara och intervjuas av Jovan Radomir.

Tid: 15 december 2013. Kl 13.00
Plats: Zeta Salen ABF STHLM Sveavägen 41
Speltid: 1h 30min

Mer info och bokning av biljetter kan göras här och en trailer för filmen kan du se här.


A few songs a day keep the doctor away (says Serbian researcher)

Serbia Posted on Fri, September 06, 2013 10:34:29

You don’t need to get up and exercise to improve your heart health, according to Serbian researchers who say listening to music for 30 minutes a day improves fitness and heart function. They found that people who just listened to their favourite music for half an hour each day increased their cardiovascular function by 19 percent, and those who paired it with exercise for another 30 minutes improved by 39 percent over three weeks.
How does it work? The key is endorphins, or happy hormones, that are released when we listen to music we like. And if you´re not convinced, read here how Prof Delijanin Ilic from the University of Nis in Serbia explains the result of the study.

Scandinavians pumping business to Serbia

Serbia Posted on Mon, July 08, 2013 23:33:30

Together with 500 customers, business partners and employees, the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic took part in the celebrations at the inauguration of the newly-built factory in Indjija north-west of Belgrade. Along with the factories in Russia and Hungary, the factory will be delivering pumps to the Central and Eastern European market, where there is a growing demand for Grundfos pumps.
Since the spring of 2011, the Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos has been producing circulator pumps in rented buildings. In addition to several types of circulator pumps, the new factory will also produce the Sololift2 lifting station, which makes it easier for house-owners to handle wastewater from the bathroom or kitchen. Read more here.

Serbia is out of the recession – Now to the Reindustrialization

Serbia Posted on Fri, May 10, 2013 20:36:56

The Serbian economy has exited from recession for the first time in a year according to figures for the first quarter of 2013.
Serbia’s Finance Ministry said that industrial production grew by 5.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year, contributing to a moderate GDP growth of 1.9 per cent, according to the Statistical Office.
The ministry said that in order to achieve further recovery, an “Action Plan for the Reindustrialization of Serbia” will be adopted by the end of this month, “which will elaborate operational measures for stimulating the economy, exports and employment.” More key figures from bne here.

Telekom Srbija reports 50% drop in net profit in 2012

Serbia Posted on Fri, April 26, 2013 15:10:04

Telekom Srbija ended 2012 with a net profit of RSD 11.25 billion, down nearly 50 percent from a year earlier, primarily as a result of increased financial expenses, which jumped nearly four times to RSD 12.5 billion. The financial result is mainly a consequence of long-term liabilities, which increased from RSD 17.3 billion to RSD 46.7 billion, due to the raising of the loan for the purchase of its own shares conducted early last year. Revenue amounted to RSD 88.5 billion, up by 1.4 percent from 2011. Business revenues grew to RSD 19.8 billion. Telekom Srbija has yet to announce full consolidated financial statements. ( April 24)

Svenskarnas nya semesterdestination

Serbia Posted on Thu, March 21, 2013 20:22:35

Resandet från Sverige till Serbien slog alla rekord förra året. Antalet besökare ökade med ca 23% och antalet övernattningar med ca 26%! Dessa positiva siffror har förstås sina förklaringar. Det är numera lätt och billigt att flyga till Serbien från både Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö och Köpenhamn. Man kan välja mellan tre olika flygbolag; JAT Airways, Wizz Air och Norwegian. Popularitet beror förstås också på, den för oss svenskar, angenäma prisnivån på hotell/boende, restauranger och nöjesliv. Dessutom har det skrivits positiva artiklar om Belgrad och Serbien i de flesta svenska resemagasin. Sådant får effekt! Enligt, så har Serbien nu också kommit in på listan över de tio mest populära resmålen för svenskar denna sommar!
Läs mer här om Serbiska kulturskatter, hälsoresor med spa, vin- och matresor samt musik- och ölfestivaler.

Programme Coordinator for Swedish Human Rights Org. wanted in Serbia and BiH

Serbia Posted on Sat, March 09, 2013 09:48:17

The Olof Palme International Center is a Swedish non-profit organization that supports partner organizations in many parts of the world, including Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The partner organizations are working for human rights and peace. The Olof Palme International Center is part of the Swedish labour movement with headquarters in Stockholm.
The Olof Palme International Center is recruiting a Programme Coordinator that will monitor projects and support organizations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and be based in Belgrade. The Programme Coordinator will facilitate the cooperation between the member organizations of the Olof Palme International Center and their partner organizations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Programme Coordinator will be based in the Belgrade office of the Palme Center and travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina at least 5 to 10 days a month. He/she will be part of a team working with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina together with a Programme Manager based in Stockholm, Sweden.
For job description, requirements and submission of applications, click here.

FundraiseIT & PartnerIT for free in Belgrade

Serbia Posted on Fri, March 08, 2013 11:01:30

Take the chance to meet your new business partners and potential clients among the companies from all around the Europe during dynamic two-day B2B matchmaking event FundraiseIT & PartnerIT 2013 to take place in Belgrade, Serbia, 18. – 19. April 2013.

During the conference participants will be involved in the direct communication channel with competent well-known serial entrepreneurs and investors from Silicon Valley and Europe. In the live discussions panels among successful entrepreneurs and investors participants will be able to hear some interesting personal stories, information about various investing models, fundraising methods, success stories, experiences and valuable tips. Last year this two day event attracted 223 participants from 24 countries.

Learn about possibilities for fundraising and investments in IT projects from well-known serial entrepreneurs and investors, while expanding your international network at FudraiseIT conference. Explore new ideas, develop your knowledge and find new business opportunities. For more information and registration visit and free tickets please contact Mr. Andrija Bednarik

H&M opens first store in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Sat, January 19, 2013 15:47:40

Swedish fashion store H&M is about to open it´s first store in Serbia, in the capital Belgrade. The store is planned to open during
autumn 2013 according to the Nasdaq OMX newswire. Other new markets for H&M during 2013 are Chile, Estonia, Lithuania
and via franchise in Indonesia.

– “We look very much forward to opening the first H&M store in Belgrade. We are
excited to be able to offer fashion and quality at the best price to our
customers in Serbia from autumn 2013”, says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO at H&M.
Contact person:

Camilla Emilsson-Falk
Head of

Telephone: +46 8 796 39 95

Swedish Business School starts operation in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Sun, December 16, 2012 15:27:49

Mercuri International is starting business in Serbia in January 2013. The Serbian team will mainly deliver services in Sales Management and Powerful Sales Performance.
“We see a large potential in Serbia due to the country approaching the EU. Many multinational companies choose Serbia as the location for their headquarters and we are looking forwards to enable the Serbian business community to grow.” says Mr Ola Strömberg, CEO Mercuri International Group.
The office will be located in Belgrade and the managing director will be Milomir Ždrale. Previously Mr Ždrale has worked as a Sales Director for two international companies in Ukraine and Serbia before becoming a sales consultant. His expertise is in Sales Management and in the optimization of Sales Processes and Systems. More about Mercuri International here.

Food and drinks fair in Belgrade

Serbia Posted on Fri, December 07, 2012 15:55:29

CULINARIA EXPO SERBIA is the specialised food & drink regional show
focusing, for the third time, primarily on trade buyers. The Expo will be held
from March 4th to March 6th, 2013 in Serbia, at the Belgrade Fair venue. FOODREX
CULINARIA EXPO is an outlet to present premium food lines for Serbian food and
drink producers, from small family manufacturers to large corporations. This
will be a great opportunity for professional buyers from Europe and the rest of
the World to meet Serbian food and drink producers, and to establish a
potential cooperation.
food and drink products are widely known, mostly, for their organic origin and
good quality. All companies that are interested in participating in “Hosted
Buyers Programme” should fill out the form on the website: More information about the fair can be downloaded here.

EUR 100 million for SMEs in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Tue, November 27, 2012 20:31:58

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed two loans totalling EUR 100 million in Serbia with two local financial institutions in support of the projects of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as infrastructure schemes promoted by local authorities. The loans are designed to assist Serbia in its efforts to integrate into the European Union.
“The loans will improve the access of Serbian SMEs and mid-cap companies to long-term financing provided on favourable terms” said Dario Scannapieco, the EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, “and I am really pleased with our cooperation with the Serbian authorities and Serbian financial institutions.” More details here.

Sweden would like to see Serbia in the EU as soon as possible

Serbia Posted on Tue, November 20, 2012 20:59:44

Members of a Swedish parliamentary delegation told their counterparts from the Serbian Parliament’s Committee for Judiciary and State Administration that the Swedish government and parliament would like to see Serbia in the EU as soon as possible as Serbia is a major country in the region.
At a meeting in Belgrade, the Swedish MPs, led by Swedish Deputy Parliament Speaker Jan Ertsborn (FP), said they were ready to help Serbia strengthen its judiciary and human rights, adding that the Swedish government and parliament support EU enlargement. They assessed Serbia and Sweden are connected by good and friendly mutual relations and that today’s visit would promote interparliamentary cooperation.
The delegation visits Serbia and Croatia between 18-23 November. (

Serbia on Business Tour in Sweden

Serbia Posted on Sun, October 07, 2012 16:37:20

In recent years, Serbia has experienced increase in foreign direct investments and trade
flows with a significant number of multinational companies doing business or sourcing a
wide range of products from Serbian manufacturers.
To better inform Swedish companies about business environment and investment
incentives in Serbia, Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Stockholm, in cooperation
with Swedish cities and municipalities, is organizing a series of Business Panels
named “Investment and Trade Opportunities in Serbia” starting this autumn.
First two business panels will take place in Norrköping (19 November) and Gävle
(23 November), and the Embassy would like to invite all companies with an interest in
doing business with Serbia to take part in these events.
The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia will continue cooperation with other cities and
municipalities to inform the Swedish business community of Serbia’s investment and
trade potentials.
For more information and registration process please contact Ms. Milica Zatezalo

All about setting up a company in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Sat, September 22, 2012 20:14:42

In the process of joining the European Union, the Republic of Serbia implements changes to the laws and regulations that will significantly influence the business community. These changes are necessary for Serbian companies to meet the European standards and become competitive both on the European market and global market.
So anyone with plans to set up a company or subsidiary in serbia should take a look at this new document, which we just received from our colleagues in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia. Download it here.

You are also welcome to download the latest Business News from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia here.

Serbia open for Business

Serbia Posted on Sun, September 09, 2012 19:32:44

For the fifth year in a row Serbia Investment and
Export Promotion Agency SIEPA is organizing the Meet the Buyer event (November
13, 2012, BelExpo Center, Belgrade) to bring respectable and internationally
experienced suppliers together with international companies seeking for new
partners, products and best value at the minimum costs. This year the focus
will be on food and furniture industry and we are inviting companies from this
industry, both on buyer’s and suppliers’ side, to apply and register for the
event at

Free Zone Pirot Among Best Zones Globally

Serbia Posted on Mon, August 20, 2012 22:00:10

According to the ranking done by Financial Times’ fDi Magazine, Free Zone Pirot is holding the 41st place on the list of world’s Top 50 free zones and is one of the most successful free zones in the world. More than 600 free zones across 120 countries were invited by fDi Magazine to complete a survey requesting both qualitative and quantitative data. The information collected was set under five categories: incentives, facilities, cost-effectiveness, transportation and best FDI promotion.
Free Zone Pirot CEO Dragan Kostic said that they were pleasantly surprised with fDi Magazine’s ranking, and that “Free Zone Pirot is modeled after the best free zones in the world. This is going to be our reference for all future investors and it also gives us an extra strength to keep going down the right path”, said Kostic. He added that Free Zone Pirot had exported €200 million worth of goods in 2011, reporting a turnover of €450 million. Another free zone from Serbia is well ranked – Free Zone Ecka ranks 48th

Serbian Embassy in Stockholm welcomes new Economic Counsellor

Serbia Posted on Mon, August 20, 2012 21:52:29

Milica Zatezalo has been appointed as Economic Counsellor for the Nordic Countries at the Embassy of Serbia in Stockholm starting April 2012. This appointment has been made in line with economic diplomacy principles of promoting Serbia as prime investment location while improving foreign market access for the Serbian products and services. She expressed her anticipation to take up this exciting and challenging position “While facilitating better economic cooperation between the countries in the form of greater presence of Nordic companies in the Serbian market and providing support to the Serbia companies for broader Nordic market penetration”.

Ms. Zatezalo joins the Serbia Economic Counsellors team of 28 members after nearly nine years of experience in public administration where she run a number of investment and export promotion projects and was responsible for the first Serbia participation in the largest worldwide exhibition EXPO 2010 Shanghai.

Serbia to host the world’s largest solar park

Serbia Posted on Sun, May 13, 2012 21:26:57

Serbia is to host the world’s largest individual solar park. Luxembourgbased Securum Equity Partners Europe will invest EUR2bn in the project. Serbia has no financial commitment, but expects to collect EUR 750m in taxes over the next 20 years. (bne May 2012)

Serbia granted EU canditate status. Congratulations or…..

Serbia Posted on Fri, March 02, 2012 09:18:17

After three years of tough talks and painful concessions from Belgrade, Brussels has finally granted Serbia formal EU candidate status. While the first major step towards full membership has been taken, years of negotiations still lie ahead.

The decision to clear the way for Serbia’s accession to the EU came as a surprise on the first day of the Brussels summit, which has the top priority issue of saving the EU from the financial crisis that is wracking the eurozone.
Under current conditions, a large part of the Serbian population has understandable concerns about the wisdom of joining the Union at a time of unprecedented economic disaster.
Serbia has already made major concessions to smooth its path to the EU but further negotiations with the bloc will inevitably bring more economic and political demands from Brussels.
The last and most important concession Belgrade was forced to make was to improve ties with its breakaway region of Kosovo, whose independence has now been recognized by almost all EU states.

Nebojsa Malic, an expert on Serbian history, told that EU will be the sole beneficiary of the accession process.“The EU will not lead to gains for Serbia, but it will demand that Serbia give up everything,” he argues. He said Belgrade has basically subordinated its foreign policy to Brussels and in a sense to Washington and as a result has been forced to surrender its position on Kosovo.Now Brussels appears to be pushing Belgrade to revoke Russia’s most-favored nation status in trade agreements.
“I don’t think anybody in Serbia honestly expects the country’s problems to be resolved by joining the EU, especially after seeing the riots in Spain and Greece,” Malic claims. (RT March 2)

Serbian President confirms arrest of Ratko Mladić

Serbia Posted on Thu, May 26, 2011 14:00:29, Belgrade: Serbian President Boris Tadić confirmed during a news conference in
Belgrade today that a man suspected to be Hague fugitive Ratko Mladić has been
Tadić said the arrest operation was carried out by Serbia’s intelligence
agency BIA and the Service for Discovering War Crimes.
According to reports earlier in the day, the Serbian police arrested on
Thursday a man going by the name of Milorad Komadić, who was suspected to be
former VRS General Ratko Mladić. B92 previously received confirmation
that a man suspected to be Mladić was in custody.
The secret operation
came after a tip-off that Komadić “possessed some identification documents of
Ratko Mladić and was physically very similar to him”, the Zagreb-based Jutarnji
List reported earlier today. The report did not mention the location
where the arrest took place. B92 has unofficially learned that the operation
took place in the village of Lazarevo, near the town of Zrenjanin in northern
The former military leader of Serbs in
Bosnia is wanted by the Hague Tribunal on genocide and war crimes charges.

Serbian government extends bid deadline for national telco

Serbia Posted on Thu, April 14, 2011 23:13:09

The Serbian government has given the sole bidder in its Telekom Srbjia sell-off 15 days to improve its offer. A fortnight ago, it emerged that Telekom Austria’s offer of €800-950m for the mostly-state-owned telco was the only bid received. The Serbian government, which owns 80 per cent of the telco, was hoping to attract offers in excess of €1.4bn for a 51 per cent stake in the company. Read more in the article by here.

Serbia can get EU status within the year says Commissioner

Serbia Posted on Sun, March 27, 2011 22:12:38

It is possible that Serbia will get the EU candidate status by the end of the year, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said ahead of his visit to Serbia. He added that in Serbia’s case the EU “will not see a need to make a difference between the candidate status and the beginning of the accession negotiations”.
“The ball is in Serbia’s court,” he told new portal EurActiv Srbija and Beta news agency.
The EU enlargement commissioner will arrive in Belgrade on Tuesday and have meetings with high Serbian officials. Read the full story from B92 news agency here.

Putin talks big investments in Belgrade

Serbia Posted on Fri, March 25, 2011 09:02:09

That the Serbian public has high expectations from Moscow was demonstrated this week by the lavish welcome given Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He arrived in Belgrade on Wednesday (March 23rd) to meet with President Boris Tadic and other top officials. He confirmed that Russian companies will help Serbia build railroads. Serbian construction workers, meanwhile, will take part in preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. “We would like to utilise the great experience of our Serbian partners in the construction of tourist facilities,” Putin said.
Tadic said he received assurances that the South Stream project would be implemented in the coming years. The pipeline, he said, is of great importance for the entire European continent. Read more in the article here.

Get a Serbia App in your Android

Serbia Posted on Wed, March 23, 2011 12:15:15

For some of you this might sound as “greek”, unless you are Greek of course.
However, with the new smartphones Iphone and those running on Google´s Android, the latest news are just a click away from your mobile phone. One of those news sites who are distributing their news in this way is Serbian B92. B92 was founded in 1989 as a youth radio broadcasting to Belgrade audiences and has since grown into a company which includes a regional radio and a national television network, a website and an internet providing service, a book publishing department, a CD label and Rex Cultural Center.
So if you are interested in the latest Serbian news, download “B92 English” from Android Market or click here for more information.

Another way to get the latest news from all the region directly in your mobile is of course to subscribe to our own tweets “southeasteurope” on Twitter.

Only one bid received for Telekom Serbia

Serbia Posted on Wed, March 23, 2011 10:38:24

According to news from Business News Europe, the Serbian government has only received one bid for the 51 % of Telekom Serbia. Telekom Austria offered €1.4bn. That is €950m for shares and €450m in investments.
In a report from the PM said that the Serbian government will likely decide against the sale of a 51 percent stake in state run Telekom Srbija to Telekom Austria. More info here.

Serbian government does not want to sell majority of Telekom Srbija

Serbia Posted on Sun, February 27, 2011 12:17:36

Serbian Prime minister Mikro Cvekovic said that the government does not want to sell the majority stake in Telekom Srbija, reports B92. Cvetkovic said the government’s hands would not be tied even if no offered a 1.4bn euro minium price in the tender for the sale of 51% of the state-run telecom. “If nobody bids at this price, we will declare the tender unsuccessful,” Cvetkovic said, accoding to B92. (BNE 27 Feb)

Turkey and Serbia planning to form “Balkan Airways”

Serbia Posted on Sun, February 06, 2011 23:19:49

Tanjug newswire reports that Turkish national carrier Turkish Airlines and Serbia’s state-owned JAT Airways are ready to sign an arrangement on forming a new airline company called Balkan Airways. According to Bloomberg, Serbian minister Sulejman Ugljanin said after his recent visit to Turkey that the possible deal between Turkish airlines and JAT airways may start as early as March 1 after Serbia decides “which part (of the company) it wants to privatize”. (BNE Feb 2)

Serbien ett litet steg närmare EU

Serbia Posted on Mon, October 25, 2010 22:23:32

Serbien tog i dag ett litet steg mot ett medlemskap i europeiska unionen, genom att EU:s utrikesministrar formellt har skickat Serbiens ansökan vidare till kommissionen. Beslutet borde ha fattats för över ett halvår sedan, säger utrikesminister Carl Bildt i en intervju i Sveriges Radio.
Men det krävdes hårda förhandlingar för att få Nederländerna att gå med på att öppna dörren för Serbien.
– Här hade vi en diskussion ända in i det sista, med Holland på den ena kanten och Sverige på den andra. Där insisterade vi på lite mer positiva tongångar i alla fall i förhållande till dem som holländarna ville ha. Det slutade med en kompromiss, säger Carl Bildt.
Dagens beslut betyder att EU-kommissionen nu kan börja sin genomlysning av Serbiens snart ett år gamla EU-ansökan. Det kan om kanske ett år leda till ett beslut om formella medlemskapsförhandlingar för Serbien, även om ett eventuellt verkligt medlemskap ligger många år framåt i tiden.
Lyssna på hela intervjun med SR-intervjun med Carl Bildt här.

NORMA Group invests in new production site in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Sat, September 04, 2010 22:45:59

NORMA Group, a merger between the Swedish ABA Group and NORMA Germany and leading manufacturer and distributor of innovative engineered joining technologies, expands its global footprint and invests in a new manufacturing facility in Serbia.
NORMA Group´s new production site is located in the area of Subotica in the northern part of Serbia and will be opened in June 2011. The production will focus on high-tech solutions for fluid transport and emission control applications targeting customers throughout the European region.
“Subotica is a strategic location for NORMA Group, and our local and regional partners made it a convincing choice”, says Werner Deggim, CEO of NORMA Group. “Our investment in Serbia furthermore reflects a strongly increasing demand for NORMA Group´s innovative solutions in engineered joining technologies and distribution services.”
The new manufacturing facility will be located in the Subotica free trade zone with an approximate size of 12,400m² with room for expansion. NORMA Group expects to employ 350 people by the end of 2013.
NORMA Serbia will service industrial markets in Eastern Europe and further expand NORMA Group´s distribution activities to Turkey and neighbouring growth regions.
“Production capacities are expected to increase significantly once we have commenced our operations in Subotica. The facility is expected to be at full operating capacity by 2015”, says John Stephenson, COO of NORMA Group. “Our decision to invest in Serbia will benefit both the region of Subotica and our European customers to meet their high and increasing demand.” More information here.

Serbia identifies areas where international assistance is necessary

Serbia Posted on Thu, July 29, 2010 09:28:46

Every year, Serbian Government publishes its three year reform plan identifying main areas where international assistance/financing is necessary. This document is a good guidance for those interested in participating in projects that will be financed by EU but also for those who can find finance elsewhere. This comprehensive document identifies areas which Serbia perceives as potential for its sustainable development and where the potential for foreign investments lies. You can download the document here.

Serbia to post highest 2010 GDP growth rate in SEE, EBRD says

Serbia Posted on Mon, July 26, 2010 22:13:45

According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development updated economic outlook report Serbia is likely to post the highest 2010 GDP growth rate in the Southeast European (SEE) region, of just below 2%, driven by a major infrastructure development program and a recovery in metals prices that is helping key industries.
The EBRD, however, revised downwards its forecast for Serbia’s GDP expansion, from 2.1% to 1.9% in 2010 and from 3.2% to 3% in 2011. The SEE region, also including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania, is forecast to post a 1.5% average economic contraction in 2010, compared to a 0.3% growth previously projected by the EBRD. At the same time, the estimate for the region’s 2011 growth was cut from 2.9% to 1.2%.
The steepest fall in 2010, of 3%, is expected in Romania, while the economies of Bulgaria and Montenegro are expected to shrink by 1.2% and 0.1%, respectively.
The growth projections for the EBRD’s entire region of operations have been revised downwards since the last forecasts in May, by 0.2 percentage points for 2010, to 3.5%, and by 0.1 percentage points for 2011, to 3.9%.

Belgrade center for gourmet food in September

Serbia Posted on Sat, July 17, 2010 15:45:54

CULINARIA is the first true fine gourmet food trade show in this region oriented towards professional buyers and organized using international business standards.
The show will take place September 23-25.

International Fair of Investments and Real Estate in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Thu, July 08, 2010 21:51:35

The Fair of Investment and Real Estate is promoting investment possibilities in Serbia and it will be held in Novi Sad from 26th to 29th October. Its concept encompasses presentations of local and regional development potentials, with a recognisable character of the event that joins and presents topics connected to the development of businesses of real estate and investments in this part of Europe.
The fair represents an ideal place for presenting current programmes of financial institutions: investment funds, banks, insurance, stock exchanges, dealing and brokerage institutions. This is also an opportunity for professional meetings in forms of round table sessions, seminars, workshops, along with educational programmes aimed at individuals and companies ready for investment.
More information about the fair can be obtained on this website.

Serbian Embassy in Stockholm Appoints Economic Adviser to Promote Business with Scandinavian Companies

Serbia Posted on Thu, July 01, 2010 12:36:13

Serbia has appointed 28 new economic advisers to work in Serbia’s diplomatic and consular missions abroad. Economic advisers are positioned in most important economic partner countries such as neighboring countries, EU, Russia, United States, Canada China, and Japan. The advisers, whose mandates began in June 2010, are tasked to promote Serbia’s economic potential, attract foreign investments and facilitate export promotion. In addition, their task is to analyze local markets, commercial practices and legislation.
Mirjana Nozic has been appointed to serve as an economic advisor to Serbian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. From there, she will be covering all Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

Mirjana Nozic was born in 1975. in Belgrade. She holds a Master’s degree from FEFA Singidunum University and Bachelor’s degree from Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade. After her studies she worked in private and in public sector. Mirjana has a long experience in designing and implementing of complex international donors’ funded projects. Such examples would include cooperation with Government of Norway on ODA assistance as well as various other development programs. She is also a certified trainer for Project development and implementation of projects financed by CARDS and IPA (Instruments for Pre Accession to European Union).
Scandinavian companies interested in doing business with Serbia are welcome to contact Ms Nozic via email

Serbia invites applications for fresh job creation grants

Serbia Posted on Wed, June 16, 2010 22:43:56

The Serbian Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA) yesterday invited applications for grants of between EUR 2,000 and EUR 10,000 per newly employed worker in internationally tradable products and services sectors, local media reported. This is the 11th round of job creation grants that SIEPA is disbursing in efforts to boost direct investments in Serbia. Per-job grants for the manufacturing industry range from EUR 4,000 to EUR 10,000 in devastated areas and major industrial centers that the government seeks to revitalize, namely Zajecar, Kraljevo, Nis and Novi Pazar, and from EUR 2,000 to EUR 5,000 in the rest of Serbia. Grants in the automotive, electronic, and information technology Tuesday, June 15, 2010 3 executive newsletter sectors in the industrial centers range from EUR 5,000 to EUR 10,000 and the services sector from EUR 2,000 to EUR 10,000. Applications are due by August 27. The ten previous rounds provided slightly over EUR 47 million in grants that helped create more than 17,000 jobs and resulted in direct investments of over EUR 635 million.

IKEA to proceed with EUR1bn investment plans in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Mon, March 22, 2010 21:42:54

Swedish ambassador to Belgrade Krister Bringeus has stated that furniture producer IKEA would invest EUR 1bn in Serbia in the next seven to ten years, IntelliNews reported. In an interview with Biznis Magazine, Bringeus said that IKEA has long-term investment plans in the country, adding that the furniture producer is already cooperating with some domestic suppliers. Ikea plans to start producing some items in Serbia , in addition to opening of shopping centres, the ambassador has stated. Last month, deputy PM Bozidar Djelic has announced that IKEA could open a shopping mall in Belgrade in 2011.

Serbia to relax bank loan rules

Serbia Posted on Tue, March 02, 2010 21:54:40

Serbia’s central bank governor, Radovan Jelasic, acknowledged on Monday that foreign banks, including Greek institutions squeezed at home, would lower their loan exposure under relaxed rules next month. The country’s 10 largest foreign-owned banks, all based in the European Union, can reduce their exposure by up to 20 per cent without any threat to macroeconomic stability now, Mr Jelasic said.
“This 20 per cent demonstrates the conviction of the National Bank of Serbia and the international financial institutions that the situation is better than expected,” he said. REad the whole article in Financial Times here.

Rapport från Handelsministerns besök i Belgrad

Serbia Posted on Mon, March 01, 2010 00:37:07

Den 22/2 besökte handelsminister Björling Belgrad för handelspolitiska samtal med serbiska regeringen. Besöket inleddes med besök på det lokala IKEA-kontoret och en intern briefing av Ambassad inkl. Exportråd. En arbetsmiddag hölls med representanter för viktigare serbiska och svenska företag verksamma i Serbien. Vid mötena efterlyste bl a de serbiska minstrarna svenska investerare och partners i infrastrukturprojekt.

Ikeas investering i ett första köpcenter som ska stå färdigt i Belgrad under 2011, hoppas serberna skall bli mycket positivt för den inhemska träbearbetningsindustrin och man ställer från serbisk sida upp med en industritomt om 70 ha.

En utförligare UD-rapport från det som framkom vid mötet med de serbiska ministrarna kan hämtas här.

Raiffeisenbank releases new economic report on Serbia

Serbia Posted on Sat, February 20, 2010 23:48:00

Below are some highligts from the fresh report that members can download here.

– The IMF completed the second review of Serbia’s economic performance enabling Serbia to draw second SBA’s tranche (EUR 349.6 mn).

– CPI finished 2009 slightly above the lower level of the targeted range (6 10%) hitting 6.6% yoy whilst RPI hit 10.4% yoy.

– Real GDP (in price of 2002) declined by 2.3% yoy in 3Q 09. Serbia is the country with the lowest negative yoy growth in 3Q 09 in CEE. Industrial production fell by 4.2% yoy in November.

– Unemployment rate reached 16.6% in October 2009 giving an increase of 2.6 percentage points yoy. The average monthly net wage paid in November 2009 amounted to EUR 333.

– CA reached EUR 165.8 mn in November whilst it nose dived by 71.3% yoy hitting EUR 1.6 bn in Jan Nov 09. External trade volume reached EUR 15.6 bn in Jan Nov 09 slumping by 26.3% yoy.

– Budget realisation made savings of RSD 10.2 bn in 2009, being doubled yoy coming to RSD 95.3 bn. External debt swelled by EUR 137 mn mom in November to EUR 22.0 bn.

– NBS slashed the key interest rate, 2 week repo, by 50 bps, down to 9.5%. FCY savings hit all time record at EUR 5.74 bn.

– According to Credit Suisse statistics, Serbian 5:year CDS traded levels declined by some 10 bps in previous one month period coming to 347 bps. NBS was forced to intervene on FX market selling EUR 100.5 mn.

Spanish EU presidency wants Serbia and other West Balkan states to join as soon as possible

Serbia Posted on Mon, February 01, 2010 09:48:25

The European Union should review Serbia’s application to join the bloc as soon as possible, says the Spanish EU presidency. The foreign ministers of Greece and Austria have also proposed changes in EU-Balkan ties. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos said his country’s EU presidency would do its utmost to achieve progress in the process of integrating the Western Balkans into the European Union. “2010 is going to be a key year for all the Western Balkans,” said Moratinos after meeting in Brussels with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic on Tuesday. “I can guarantee on behalf of the Spanish presidency that we will do everything that is possible to advance in this direction.”

The meeting was the first political dialog at ministerial level since the Serbian government formally applied for EU membership in December 2009. “We have discussed the constructive role Serbia can play in the Western Balkans and how we can work together in a practical way with regards to Kosovo,” Moratinos told a news conference. The self-declared independence of Kosovo, a former region of Serbia, remains controversial.

The EU’s enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, who also took part in the meeting, said that the European Commission was prepared to assess Serbia’s ability to fulfill the conditions for membership. This is a necessary step before accession negotiations can begin. “We are just holding consultations with all member states and we hope it will happen,” Moratinos said. “The sooner, the better.” An early review would boost Serbia’s hopes of receiving approval to start the negotiations quickly, after long delays due to EU concern over Serbia’s failure to arrest wanted war criminals.
Moratinos said further that the Spanish presidency would seek to conclude accession negotiations with Croatia and resolve the issue of Macedonia, which is in a dispute with Greece over its name. In addition, it would deal with the integration prospects of other countries in the region such as Albania and Montenegro. He said it aimed to work on stabilizing the region, with particular emphasis on Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We are moving forward towards a high degree of pacification and stabilization of the whole region, which is very positive for the Western Balkans and for all neighboring countries,” Moratinos said. He said enormous progress had been made in recent years.

Reinforcing the EU’s commitment in the Balkans

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Greece and Austria have drawn up a blueprint for EU action in the Balkans for 2010. In a letter obtained by the German press agency dpa, the ministers said the EU in 2010 should complete accession negotiations with Croatia, start talks with Macedonia, reinforce its role in Bosnia, abolish visas for Albanian and Bosnian citizens and advance Serbia’s bid to join the bloc. The letter was sent to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on January 21 and circulated in Brussels on January 25 during a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers. “This is the right moment to renew at high level the EU’s commitment to the region and to set out the course ahead in concrete terms,” Dimistris Droutsas of Greece and Michael Spindelegger of Austria said in the letter. The two ministers also called for stronger ties with other EU candidates, such as Albania and Montenegro, and for “concrete progress through the EU’s engagement in Kosovo.”

“Progress in the Balkans is not yet self-sustaining,” Droutsas and Spindelegger said. “Moreover, in economically difficult times, many doubts are voiced regarding the European perspective of the Western Balkans.” The two ministers said their agenda could form the basis of discussions at the high-level meeting planned between EU and Balkan leaders at the end of May in Sarajevo. (Deutsche Welle, Jan 27)

Tadić hands in Serbia´s EU application in Stockholm

Serbia Posted on Tue, December 22, 2009 19:04:28

President Boris Tadić this Tuesday in Stockholm, submitted Serbia’s application requesting that the country be granted EU candidate status.
Tadić said yesterday that he believed that Serbia’s application would come at the best possible moment, although the county is yet to fulfil the requirements for the ratification of the “previous” step – the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA).
EU hopes that Serbia´s application will be a boost for the whole region. Albania and Montenegro have already handed in their applications and when the Bosnienserbs understand how isolated they are, also Bosnia will consider the road to EU.
Serbia can be a full member earliest by 2014.

Good morning Serbia and welcome to Europe (without visa)

Serbia Posted on Sat, December 19, 2009 10:28:39

Early Saturday morning Dec 19 the first Serbians could travel within the European Union without visa. Among the first to travel was a Serbian delegation led by vice PM Bozidar Djelic which landed at Brussels airport 02.30 am, where they were received by the Swedish migration minister Tobias Billström. The delegation will celebrate the new freedom of travel by proceeding to Paris, Rome and Berlin. Several of the delegates have never been outside Serbia.
According to unofficial reports from Serbia, the government will hand in their EU membership application the coming week in Stockholm.

EU will no longer block trade agreement with Serbia

Serbia Posted on Tue, December 08, 2009 08:56:49

European Union foreign ministers say they will no longer block a trade agreement and closer ties with Serbia. The decision came after the Netherlands lifted its opposition to closer EU ties, ending an 18-month standoff. The Dutch government had been blocking an interim trade deal, demanding that Serbia do more to track down fugitive Balkans war crimes suspects. But the breakthrough removes a major obstacle to Serbia applying for full membership of the EU, analysts say.
Serbia’s EU-accession hopes have been dogged by its failure to arrest the Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect, General Ratko Mladic.

The Netherlands had been blocking an interim trade deal because it wants General Mladic handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. But earlier this month the UN’s chief war crimes prosecutor said Serbia’s co-operation with the ICTY was “progressing”. However, in his report to the UN, Serge Brammertz said Serbia must continue searching for both Gen Mladic, the Bosnian-Serb military leader, and Goran Hadzic, who is wanted for war crimes in Croatia. (BBC Dec 8).

Buy yourself a spa – in Serbia

Serbia Posted on Mon, October 26, 2009 22:12:04

Serbia, a land of ancient volcanoes, has some of the most abundant mineral water resources in Europe. In the Communist era, the state took them over, even if Orthodox religious bodies often continued to run them. Today, as the church has recovered its place in Serbian society, it has also developed an awareness of the financial value of these water resources. Read the whole story in NY Times here.

Serbia to Cut 20% of State Jobs to Meet IMF Conditions

Serbia Posted on Mon, September 14, 2009 23:13:01

Serbia will have to lay off about a fifth of its public sector — 14,000 employees — to meet conditions set by the International Monetary Fund to receive more financial aid, an official said Monday. Serbia’s Finance Minister Diana Dragutinovic said it is planning cost cuts before the government resumes its talks with the IMF on Oct. 20.
The IMF has postponed giving the Balkan country access to additional funds from a €2.8 billion ($4.08 billion) standby loan granted in March, demanding details on how Serbia plans to finance its growing budget deficit amid the financial crisis. The IMF had proposed an increase of Serbia’s value-added tax, which currently stands at 18% on all goods and services, to cover the burgeoning budget gap. But Serbian officials said they could make the savings by cutting down on state administration. The officials said they plan a radical overhaul of the public sector, including state administration, education, health and pension systems, to reduce expenses in the years to come. /Wall Street Jurnal Sept 14). Read the whole article here.

Ny Fact pack för Serbien från Exportrådet

Serbia Posted on Fri, July 31, 2009 00:11:01

Exportrådet i Belgrad har publicerat en ny fact pack som ger den senaste uppdateringen om landet och affärsmöjligheterna för svenska företag. Den kan laddas ner här:

Serbs may soon travel without visa says Solana

Serbia Posted on Tue, July 14, 2009 18:24:11

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says that Serbian citizens will soon receive good news from Brussels regarding visa-free travelling as he expressed hope the country would soon make progress towards EU membership.
“For us in the European Union, to deepen the relationship with your country is a fundamental objective,” he said in Belgrade on Monday. “You know there are problems that still exist, and I can guarantee you we are going to do the outmost to overcome the difficulties. (Deutsche Welle, 14 July)
Read more here.

Serbia’s motor city shifts into overdrive after deal with Fiat

Serbia Posted on Sun, June 14, 2009 09:28:05

Contrary to the gloomy car industry in the rest of the world, there is a new sense of optimism at Zastava Automotive, the state-owned Serbian carmaker. Fiat, the Italian carmaker, has taken over management, bringing new technology, stricter quality control and automated paint sprayers. Meanwhile, a government stimulus package to encourage the purchase of locally made cars has dramatically boosted demand. Read more here.