Conference ‘Belt and Road Initiative in the Balkans’ in Belgrade

The strategic significance of the “Belt and Road” initiative in this region, its global reach, investment and infrastructure projects, as well as the opportunities of Serbian-Chinese cooperation within the framework of the 4th industrial revolution, will be discussed at the third international conference organized by Belgrade Strategic Dialogue (BSD), titled “The Belt and Road Initiative in the Balkans”.

The gathering, which will bring together a number of participants from Serbia and abroad, will be opened by the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić, and the central theme of this year’s conference is the strategic significance of the “Belt and Road” initiative in the region.

Some of the speakers that will address the conference are the Ambassador of China to Serbia, Li Manchang, an expert on Balkan affairs, Wolfgang Petritch, Professor Ge Shunqi from the Nankai University, as well as a Professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Political Sciences and Director of the Center for Asian Studies, Dragana Mitrovic.

Mitrovic underlines the importance of this initiative, since it already has an inter-continental, and perhaps a global reach, given the founding of the Asian Bank for Investment in Infrastructure.

“We will try to explain what the initiative means for intercontinental connectivity, both continental and maritime, what it means for transport, communication infrastructure, connecting nations, culture, improving trade, accelerating cross-border trade, etc,” Mitrovic told Tanjug.

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The participants will also talk about what the initiative means for China itself, which has grown from a regional to a global superpower, but also how it touches us and which is the best way to include Serbia in its implementation.

Mitrovic points out that it is very important for Serbia that the initiative has reached the momentum in Europe, because, by the nature of things, we are positioned in the middle of the crossroads, and that gives us the opportunity to choose something from a wide offer.

“We are dealing with an incomparably larger partner and we have the opportunity to choose what is most important for us – to connect both within our own, but also with further regions, to integrate ourselves into production and communication chains in international production, communication and trade and be a part of global trends in order to improve the state of our economy and our position in the international market,” Mitrovic says.

Radojka Nikolic, the owner of the magazine “Biznis i Finansije”, who is moderating a panel devoted to investment and infrastructure projects, says that Serbia has found itself on the old Silk Road, or now called Belt and Road, as an important geographic point.

“This initiative is important to us because we lack the infrastructure that is needed for the Chinese to realize their project, and the conference will deal with these issues,” Nikolic told Tanjug.

She added that the representatives of Chinese companies would also talk at the conference about their experiences in Serbia and their perception of all the advantages or disadvantages that these projects imply.

She pointed out that Serbia has a dual interest in infrastructure projects. “One is geographical because we are located on the old Silk Road and in this way, we can benefit from the construction of infrastructure, and the other is that all of Serbia needs the infrastructure regardless of the Belt and Road project. We need roads, bridges, and railroads like Belgrade – Budapest, which should be constructed under the auspices of the project,” Nikolic noted.

Other panelists that will participate in the conference are the State Secretary at the Serbian Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Tatjana Matic, Mihailo Vesovic from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, Director of NTP Belgrade Gordana Danilovic Grkovic, as well as Milan Aleksijevic from Telekom Serbia and Srecko Miodragovic from the Comtrade Group.

The conference “The Belt and Road Initiative in the Balkans” is being organized by the Belgrade Strategic Dialogue Foundation, in cooperation with the Embassy of China in Belgrade and the Government of Serbia, and it is being held in the Palace of Serbia.

(Vecernje Novosti, 09.12.2018)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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