Serbian delegation to the European Economic Forum

On the occasion of the second yearly meeting of the European Economic Forum, with the main theme “Transformed Europe – search for a common vision”, the delegation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, lead by the Prime Minister, Mr. Zoran Djindjic, stayed for the past two days in Salzburg.

Besides the Prime Minister, our official representatives were: the Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr. Bozidar Djelic, the Minister of international economic relations, Mr. Goran Pitic, and the Minister of Economy and Privatization, Mr. Aleksandar Vlahovic. Our delegation was among the busiest during the summit, and also in the focus of the journalists’ attention.

The press-conferences showed the great interest of international public for the following subjects: further developments of the federal crisis Yugoslavia is facing, entry of Yugoslavia to the Council of Europe, when will Yugoslavia join the EU, if the financial help from the US will be suspended, if the future elections will slow down the reforms or even destabilize the country, the progress of the privatization process in Serbia, etc.

Serbian Ministers answered to all questions with competence, self-confidence and arguments. Therefore, during the summit, Mr. Djindjic had the opportunity to say and repeat, as previously, on the occasion of similar meeting gathering the European and world political, business and finance leaders he attended before, that the most important thing consists in presenting Serbia as a modern, democratic, normal country, worth to cooperate with.

Mr. Aleksandar Vlahovic, Serbian Minister of Economy and Privatization, declared today to Tanjug, that all the investors with whom the Serbian delegation had the opportunity to meet on the margins of the summit, were unanimous in their evaluation of the impressive progress of the reforms in Serbia, saying that they are much faster then in other countries in transition.

Among other meetings with investors, Mr, Vlahovic distinguished the one with the representatives of the Debis corporation, that invested in the restructuring of the Petrohemija and the Mining and bloomery basin Bor, and whose presence and participation are expected within the great project of the gasification of the central Serbia.

He also noted the initiative from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the organization of a conference on South-Eastern Europe countries concurrency, as well as the initiative “Juromania”, dedicating it’s following January conference to investment and investment opportunities in Serbia.

Minister Pitic participated to the debate on the theme “Public institutions – the role of the regulative and legislative system”. Speaking of his meeting with the vice president of the “Oracle” corporation, Mr. Pitic says:
– We spoke about the possibilities and ways for Serbia to improve the database system software. We agreed to verify an academic initiative “Oracle” is carrying out in the eastern European countries, and to introduce, on low costs, that same system to our schools, universities, the Government, everywhere possible, assuring the development of a modern society. He added that they “reached some good ideas, and that it is possible to develop this issue in the future”.

The last day of the European Economic Forum summit was marked by the theme “Investment in Serbia”. Minister Bozidar Djelic spoke of the economical potential of Serbia and the reform of the financial system, that is now growing, aimed to assure a successful investment in Serbia, and help to establish a common South-Eastern market, one of the maid directions of the Serbian Government. Answering the question regarding the possible suspension of the Washington financial aid to Yugoslavia because of the Hague Tribunal cooperation issue, Minister Bozidar Djelic said – we are at present the only south-eastern European country within the American budget with an increased amount of help, we already received the promised funds, but we’ll see what will happen in the future.

– We do hope, that meanwhile, the EU will reform and become more efficient in all regional problems resolving, declared Mr. Djindjic, Serbian Prime Minister, on the round table on “EU Extension”, asking from the European countries to establish clear criteria for the accession to the membership, emphasizing the plans of the Serbian Government for Yugoslavia to postulate for membership in 2004. and after complying with all the necessary conditions, become a EU member state by 2010.

The Prime Minister granted an interview to the “Wall Street Journal”, and together with the Minister Djelic, spoke to the Financial Times.

According to all, the Serbian team left a noticeable impression in Salzburg, because the Prime Minister Djindjic was invited to speak not only on the occasion of the firs plenary session (theme: EU Extension), but also on the final one (theme: The role of Europe in the World), which represented quite a precedent. Along with the congratulations and encouragements for the reforms initiated in Serbia, the participants to the summit warned the Serbian Government representatives that the Government should be responsible for the maintenance of political stability within the country itself, which is one of the most important conditions for foreign investors arrival and a stronger integration of Serbia to the international community.