President Pahor in a working meeting with Serbian President Vučić on the day of his inauguration

Beograd, Republic of Serbia, 23. 6. 2017 | press release, statement

At a special invitation of the newly elected President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, today met with him in Belgrade on the day of his inauguration. The President of the Republic of Slovenia met with the President of Serbia, Vučić, on a working visit on that day characterised by friendly and mutual trust and the continuation of excellent relations between the two countries.

Firstly, Slovenian President Pahor congratulated President Vučić on his victory in the presidential election and expressed his hope that friendly relations between the two countries will continue. At the press conference after the meeting President Pahor said: “The successes of Serbia are also the successes of the region."

President Pahor noted that Slovenia wishes to peacefully and successfully cooperate with countries in the region, especially Serbia, with which we have traditional ties and friendly relations.

The two presidents described relations between the two countries as very good, and they also discussed economic cooperation. President Pahor said that Slovenia and Serbia have well developed goods services and trade that exceeds EUR 1.0 billion. Serbia ranks sixth in terms of its volume of trade and merchandise trade, following five Member States of the European Union. In terms of merchandise trade and trade, Serbia is the first country outside the European Union, which points to the development of economic relations. President Vučić also stated that Serbia wishes to attract even more Slovenian investors.

The Serbian President thanked President Pahor for today’s visit to Belgrade just before Slovenian Statehood Day despite numerous obligations associated with it. He added that the Slovenian President showed that he respects Serbia just like Serbia respects Slovenia.

The two presidents also discussed the European Union. As the Slovenian President stated, Slovenia supports the efforts of Serbia to join the EU; however, as we know, the enlargement of the EU is currently not the Union’s priority. In that respect, President Pahor emphasised that it is nevertheless of crucial importance that a sincere candidate country like Serbia advances on its reform path and will be ready when the enlargement becomes relevant again.

Serbia continues to be Slovenia’s most important trading partner from the area of southeastern Europe. More than 1,500 Slovenian enterprises are currently registered in Serbia, which is by far the highest proportion of all foreign investors in Serbia. Slovenian enterprises provide approximately 25,000 jobs in Serbia. Trade between the two countries is a growing trend. In 2016 it was the highest in the last decade (EUR 1.24 billion), representing an increase of 3.9% relative to the previous year.

Investment flows between the two countries are also intensive. Serbia is second among countries in terms of investment by Slovenian companies (close to EUR 1.0 billion). Interest shown by new Slovenian companies in business opportunities in Serbia has grown following the years of the crisis. And Serbian investment in Slovenia is also increasing (EUR 59.3 million, 29-percent growth in particular in tourism and banking in the last year).

Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia, and the newly-elected President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA