The Slovenia Times

Economic Coop Dominates Joint Govt Session in Belgrade


"Serbia is an important partner of Slovenia and Slovenia is an important partner of Serbia in the field of economy," Bratušek said during what is her first official visit to the country.

Dačić highlighted untapped economic potential. "Slovenian investment in Serbia tops one billion euros and we wish for the trend to continue, to use comparable advantages of Serbia and Slovenia," he said.

He also called for more Serbian investments in Slovenia, citing the examples of soft drinks company Fructal and software company Hermes Softlab, which have been taken over by Serbian owners.

"It is in our interest for the volumes of trade and investment to be as large as possible," Dačić said.

Bratušek noted that Slovenia was considering incentives for the creation of new jobs and foreign investment. "Everything we agree will obviously also apply to Serbia."

She agreed Fructal's acquisition by Nectar in 2011 was a case of best practice, and was confident more would follow on both sides.

She said it was the governments' job to create the conditions, which the corporate sector should use to make business. She invited Serbian companies to participate in planned privatisation in Slovenia.

The countries signed a memorandum on cooperation in third markets. "It's important to draw up strategy of joint forays in third markets through establishment of various consortia or strategic partnerships," Dačić said.

Asked about the extent of bank recapitalisation and the possibility of Slovenia asking for EU aid, Bratušek said "this is a million-dollar question at the moment" and that the extent of the need for capital would be known once the stress test results were available.

The governments discussed succession to the former Yugoslavia and on the occasion signed a letter of intent under which Slovenia will get the diplomatic residence of the former federation in Rome. All details concerning the handover should be completed by 15 November.

Bratušek said she and Dačić agreed the resolution of succession issues must be stepped up because only half of them have been solved so far. "Our agreement is the first step in that direction," Bratušek said.

The PM also expressed Slovenia's continuing support for Serbia and other countries in the region in their efforts to joint the EU, which she said would contribute to the stability of whole Europe.

Dačić thanked for the support and expressed the expectation that Serbia would launch accession negotiations with the EU by the end of January.

He also welcomed the Slovenian government's decisions relevant to the resolution of issues faced by the Serb community in Slovenia.

The governments agreed to hold regular meetings alternatively in both countries, which means the next one will be held in Slovenia next year.

The countries also signed an agreement on confidential data exchange, a memorandum on cooperation in the energy sector and a protocol to cooperate in education.

Apart from Bratušek, the Slovenian delegation in Belgrade also includes Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, Agriculture and Environment Minister Dejan Židan, Infrastructure and Spatial Planning Minister Samo Omerzel and Economic Development and Technology Minister Stanko Stepišnik.

Bratušek and Dačić are later expected to attend a business conference hosted by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whereupon Bratušek is also due to meet President Tomislav Nikolić and Speaker Nebojša Stefanović.

She will wrap up her trip with a visit to the Gorenje Tiki subsidiary of the Slovenian household appliances maker in Stara Pazova some 20 kilometres north-west of Belgrade.


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