First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic participated today in Washington D.C. at the Conference of the Atlantic Council on the Western Balkans.
Minsiter Dacic spoke in the panel discussion dealing with business and investments in the Western Balkans.
During the panel discussion entitled “Investing in the Future: Can Entrepreneurs “Fix” the Balkans?” the Serbian Foreign Minister conveyed that the stabilization of the Western Balkans was key to the development of economy in the region.
“Economy can have a positive role to play in the context of stabilization of the entire region, but the two are entirely interdependent, meaning there can be no development of the economy without the stabilization of the region.”
Dacic said that the term “connectivity” was very commonly discussed in the region, estimating that political differences should not be an obstacle to an improved economic cooperation.
He recalled that several Summits of the Western Balkans Six were held since the launch of the Berlin initiative with the aim of taking significant steps towards the promotion of regional cooperation, mentioning as examples the establishment of the customs union and of the common regional market.
The Head of Serbian diplomacy underlined that Serbia had the advantage of being on the European path but having yet to join the EU and as such it was able to have a free trade regime with both the EU and the WB region, as well as with other countries such as Turkey and Russia.
“I want to say that in the Western Balkans, we are all major economic partners to each other”, noted the Minister pointing to joint infrastructure projects of regional importance such as the construction of motorways and the enhancement of rail transport networks within the region.
“Important steps were made by mutual agreement to remove barriers to cooperation and boost the GDP, increase investment and employment in our region.”
Minister Dacic underscored in particular that the Republic of Serbia had also promoted its economic relations with the United States of America. He thanked the U.S. partners for their readiness and engagement in the context of joint efforts towards the promotion of U.S.-Serbia economic cooperation.