THE CONFERENCE GREEK-SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE OFFICIALLY OPENED
Athens 9 February 2005 – The conference “Greek-SCG Partnership Initiative” was officially opened in the Athens Hilton today. The Conference is supported by the Greek Ministry for development and Ministry of International Economic Relations of Serbia, and organized by the humanitarian organization “Lifeline Hellas” under the auspices of HRH Crown Princess Katherine. The conference was opened by HE Boris Tadic, President of Republic of Serbia.
Key speakers of the opening ceremony were HE Boris Tadic, President of Republic of Serbia, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, Mrs. Anna Psarouda Benaki, President of the Greek Parliament, and Mr.Dimitris Sioufas, Minister of Development of Greece.
HE Boris Tadic pointed out that this conference is a great event for the economies of both countries and a confirmation of the friendship between these two countries. He announced a contract worth four million of euros that will be concluded between the furniture manufactory Simpo, Vranje and one Greek company, as well as the foundation of the Business Council of Greece and Serbia initiated by 25 Greek business people.
“Without a close economic cooperation we will not be able to realize the stability in the region”- emphasized President Tadic.
Mrs. Anna Psarouda Benaki, President of the Greek Parliament pointed out in her addressing that the Balkan cannot function without Serbia and Montenegro due to its historical, political and cultural importance.
“There is no economic cooperation without the development of economy based on the free market and investments; without this there is no political, cultural, nor historical development” – emphasized Mrs.Benaki.
“Serbia and Montenegro is not only a friend-country with which we are bounded culturally and religiously, but also the continental, natural path for our connection with Central Europe. SCG represents a key for cooperation and stability in the Balkans. As a member-country of European Union, Greece wishes to improve and promote European way of connecting for the future admission of SCG into EU. Greece is the first country of EU that developed the national plan for reconstruction of the Balkan”- pointed out HE Mr. Dimitris Sioufas, Minister of Development of Greece, in his addressing the present.
“The purpose of the assembly of the business people of Serbia and Montenegro and Greece in Athens is to strengthen the existing relations, encourage the greater exchange, and create the economy network” – said the Crown Prince Alexander II, mentioning that Serbia sees Greece “not only as an important political factor, but also as an important friend on the way to Europe”.
During a short meeting with the press, the Crown Prince said that the organization of conferencences like this one would be also needed and desirable in other European capitals such as Paris, London and Frankfurt, as well as in USA, but that people should work together on accomplishing this goal.
Promotional visit of Greek participants to Belgrade that was planned and announced for February 11 is canceled until autumn. Many of them will come to Belgrade anyway as guest of Euro Bank next week, announced the Crown Prince Alexander II.
The plan anticipates setting aside a fund of 265 million of euros for the development of economy and social infrastructure in SCG and in Kosovo and Metohia, and Greece has approved another 63.5 million of euros for development help. At the moment, there are 150 mixed and 80 Greek companies doing business in SCG. With investments of 1.2 milliards of dollars there will be additional 20.000 job openings created, in order to strengthen and develop the economic cooperation of the two countries.
This was the report at the beginning of the conference “Greece-Serbia and Montenegro Partnership Initiative”, after which many of the participants, who counts 400, were present at the Leaders Council. Among them were HE Milan Parivodic, Minister of International Economic Relations of Serbia, HE Radomir Naumov, Minister of Energy and Mining, HE Prokopis Paulopoulos, Minister of Internal Affairs, HE Dimitris Sioufas, Minister of Development, HE Panos Panayotopoulos, Minister of Development and Social Protection, HE Dimitris Avromopoulos, Minister of Development and tourism, HE Nikos Tsirtsionis, Minister of Macedonia and Trace, HE Radovan Jelasic, Governer of National Bank of Serbia, Zora Simovic, Deputy Minister of Economy of Serbia, Dragana Curcic, Deputy Minister do capital Investments, Danilo Golubovic, Deputy of Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Vlajko Senic, Deputy Minister of Trade, Tourism and Services, as well as many other representatives of the both countries and distinguished Greek and Serbian companies.
After the official luncheon that was organized in Talia Hall of Athens Hilton, the work of the conference was continued with the presentations of Mrs.Carolin Jungr, representative of the World Bank in SCG, Mr.Ulf Hindstrom, deputy of director of EBRD, Mr.Aleksandar Vlahovic, former Minister of Privatization, Mr. Goran Pitic, former Minister of Ministry of International Economic Relations, Mr.Constantin Andreopulos, executive director of EBRD.
At the presentation titled “Opportunities and Benefits” the presentations of Mr.Slobodan Milosavljevic, president of Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Jasna Matic, director of agency SIEPA, Mr. Dragan Sakan, director of agency New Moment, and Mr. Dinos Papapolicos, partner manager of TREK, Chamber of Commerce of Thesaloniki were held.
All participants of the conference continued to socialize until the end of the day, shared experiences and made new contacts. Afterwards they were present on the specially organized cultural event, a concert of Beethoven’s works in the Athens Theatre Megaton.