Italy and Serbia to bolster economic cooperation

Business Council meets on transport, energy, railways, agrofood

13 February, 19:26

(ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, FEBRUARY 13 - The Italy-Serbia Business Council meeting held its first workshop on Wednesday, with many businessmen from both countries taking part. Italy expressed its interest in investing further in Serbia, with a focus on railways, road infrastructure, agriculture, and energy. The importance Belgrade attaches to economic relations with Italy was shown by the presence of the Serbian ministers Mladjan Dinkic (economy and finance), Verica Kalanovic (regional development), Zorana Mihajlovic (energy) and deputy minister of agriculture Senad Mahmutovic. The meeting was chaired by Business Council co-chairmen Guidalberto Guidi and Draginja Djuric. Economy and Finance Minister Dinkic noted the interest shown by his Italian counterpart in the railways sector, which is currently seen as slow and inadequate, and in which there is the desire to invest to rebuild and modernize tracts of it or entire railway lines. This view is supported by Fiat Serbia, whose Kragujevac plant (where the new 500L vehicles are produced) is a major driving force in the Balkan country's economy. The aim is to make Serbia into a true hub for regional and international connections, given the country's favourable position as concerns the markets of Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan, all areas enjoying strong economic and productive expansion. Italy's ambassador Armando Varricchio also took part in the Business Council meeting, speaking of the consolidated ''partnership relations'' between Italy and Serbia which help both grow.

Italy, Varricchio stressed, fully supports Serbia's European integration efforts, a process which also serves to boost its economic potential, with growing openness to international groups. The approximately 600 Italian businesses operating in Serbia employ over 20,000 people, and overall Italian investment thus far stands at about 2 billion euros. (ANSAmed).