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President Pahor Concludes Official Visit to Republic of Serbia

Obrenovac, Serbia, 30. 5. 2014 | press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor will today conclude his first official visit to the Republic of Serbia. Yesterday, he met with his host, the President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, and they agreed that the first official visit of the President of the Republic of Slovenia to Serbia is a historical milestone in the relations between countries. The President yesterday also addressed the members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and he and President Nikolić signed a political declaration on stronger relations between the countries.

President Pahor today attended a Serbian-Slovenian business forum and addressed business leaders from both countries. Later, President Pahor held a lecture for students of the University of Beograd on "The Future of Europe and its Further Enlargement". After the lecture, he and President Nikolić visited the town of Obrenovac which was hit the worst by the flooding. The President of the Republic will conclude his visit by meeting the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dačić.

President Pahor and President Nikolić visited the town of Obrenovac, which was hit the worst by the flooding
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

In his speech at the forum, the President emphasised that economic cooperation between the countries is very good and holds a special place in the bilateral relations. Last year, the value of trade in goods exceeded one billion EUR and despite harsh economic conditions shows a positive growth trend in relation to comparable periods in the past. The growth trend was also recorded in the area of trade in services with the total amount reaching 283 million EUR in 2013, which is a testament of an extremely lively trade between the two economies. President Pahor expressed his wish that Serbian investors invested in Slovenia to a greater extent, because Slovenia is a good stepping stone for expansion to other markets of the European Union. "In addition to active economic cooperation, Slovenia and Serbia will start working together in international organisations and on projects that await us in near future. There are a lot more challenges ahead, but we have a common goal, which is to become dynamic and successful in the face of global competition," said the President.

The Slovenian President also expressed his happiness to be able to say that the relations between the countries are excellent and that he hopes it will reflect positively on the economic cooperation between the countries. At the forum, President Borut Pahor gave a presentation on the Slovenian economic environment and emphasised that both economies have a potential to jointly appear on third markets. The Slovenian and Serbian entrepreneurial communities made a commitment to join forces and help with the reconstruction of the areas hit by the recent flooding.

Later during the official visit, President Pahor also met with the rector of the University of Beograd prof. dr. Vladimir Bumbaširević and gave a lecture to students on "The Future of Europe and its Further Enlargement". He presented his view on the relations in the European Union after the recent European elections and answered questions by the students.

President Pahor and President Nikolić today visited the town of Obrenovac, which was hit the worst by the flooding, where the members of the Civil Protection of the Republic of Slovenia, Slovenian volunteers and professional firemen still pump rain water with three urgent pumps and help people in the affected area.

Slovenia was one of the first countries which responded to a call for help and sent the members of the Civil Protection to Serbia – a unit for pumping water and a water rescue unit – who helped evacuate inhabitants. At the Nikola Tesla thermal power plant, the members of the Civil Protection daily pumped around 36,000 m3 of water out of the danger zones, so that it did not threaten the power plant and the electricity supply for a half of Serbia. A helicopter of the Slovenian Armed Forces and its crew were sent to Serbia and the transport of humanitarian aid to flooded areas was organised. On this occasion, President Pahor expressed his gratitude for their efforts and help to all participating members of the Slovenian Civil Protection, volunteers, professional firemen and to everyone else helping to restore normal conditions in Serbia after flooding.

After visiting Obrenovac, the President said that what he saw truly shocked him and left him speechless. "This is a great tragedy and I would like to take this opportunity to tell the people that Slovenians are here to offer professional help during the crisis, and this helps alleviate the pain at least to some extent. In the end, President Nikolić again expressed sincere gratitude to Slovenia and emphasised that a friend in need is a friend indeed.