Serbia and Austria establish Economic Senate

BELGRADE -- The Economic Senate of Austria and Serbia was established on Wednesday in Belgrade at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS).

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz and Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić were both present at the event.

According to announcemennts, the goal of the newly established Economic Senate is to gather businessmen from Serbia, connect them into a network, encourage cooperation with businesspeople from Austria and Germany and boost export on the European market.

Most of the attention would be turned to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), it was said.

Sebastian Kurz said in his address that his country would like to support Serbia not only in the EU accession talks, but also with direct actions.

Serbia and Austria are connected not only by common history, but also by economic, cultural and personal ties, Kurz said at the conference titled “Business bridge Serbia-Austria-Europe” organized at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce to mark the constitution of the Serbian Economic Senate.

Kurz noted at the event that around 300,000 people of Serbian origin live in Austria, and that his country is the biggest investor in Serbia, adding that it has been an honor for him to meet the “great reformist” Aleksandar Vučić today in Belgrade.

Kurz emphasized that the fight against corruption and the rule of law are preconditions for a modern state, but also crucial for the success of entrepreneurship.

The Austrian foreign minister noted that political relations often lag behind the economic ties as members of the business community “frequently do pioneer work", adding that in that sense economic cooperation between Serbian and Austria can be stimulating.

As Kurz emphasized at the business conference, Austria supports Serbia on its EU path, not only with regard to the negotiations in Brussels, but through concrete projects as well.

Minister of Agriculture Dragan Glamočić said on Wednesday that the establishment of the Serbian Economic Senate is a major opportunity for business cooperation, investment and job creation.

"Austria has a great role in that," Glamočić said at the opening of the conference.

He noted that the Serbian Economic Senate had been established in cooperation with Austria, and that he had been assured during recent talks with Austrian businessmen in Vienna that they are very interested in business cooperation and investment in Serbia.

Glamočić made it clear to businessmen that Serbia is speedily working on the creation of an environment conducive to business, which is, besides political stability, a basis for further development of economic relations.

The creation of a new business environment will allow for larger investments not only in agriculture, but in all other fields, the Serbian minister said.

The establishment of the Economic Senate is a first step in strengthening and expanding ties between Serbian and Austrian businessmen, Glamočić concluded.

Aleksandar Vučić that Serbia will implement urgent, necessary and comprehensive reforms and further improve its business climate.

"I am sure that with the preservation of political stability, Serbia will get additional support and assistance from Austria," Vučić said at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.

Vučić announced that systemic laws would be adopted by end of June which will regulate the business environment in a better way, such as the law on labour, law on privatisation, bankruptcy law, law on civil servants, construction permits, insurance and prompt response office.

He noted that investments in Serbia in 2013 totalled three times the figure recorded in the previous year and expressed the belief that the sum would be even higher in 2015 thanks to reforms and favourable business environment.

Vučić thanked businessmen who have demonstrated that they are capable of overcoming difficult obstacles in operation, and expressed the hope that everyone will work together to create a healthier, better and more successful economy.