The World in 2017 Conference Held in the National Assembly of Serbia

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For the seventh year in a row Color Press Group in cooperation with the London magazine “The Economist” issued the Serbian edition of “The World in…” for which the world’s most influential statesmen, owners of corporations, leaders in business, sports and the arts, experts from the fields of finance and economics write. This year, we decided to bring together some of the most important Serbian and regional economists and businessmen, officials of the Government of Serbia as well as leading diplomats in Belgrade on the occasion of the magazine “The World in 2017” and to hear what it is that we are and what is expected in the coming year.

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Robert Čoban: For the seventh consecutive year we issue yearbook “The World in 2017” in the Serbian language. Last year at the conference, we understood that a lot of things are not easy to predict. Many had predicted that there would be no Brexit and that Hillary Clinton would win, but things did not turn out that way. Today we will talk about current issues and try to predict what awaits us in 2017.

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After Robert Čoban, the participants were addressed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Maja Gojković.

Maja Gojković: I thank Robert Čoban ofr the inspirational introduction in which he talked about the importance of our joint conference. It is not a platitude to say that I was really pleased to welcome you on behalf of the National Assembly of Serbia, especially considering the importance of today’s topic. Our Assembly is important that we talk about the challenges that Serbia and the world face in this and in 2017. It is important to openly speak about what the geopolitical challenges of Europe and the world are, on the refugee crisis, about the kind of Europe we are going, the energy of the future and what we consider very important topic, the topic of culture. We are aware that Serbia cannot influence the trends in the global arena, but today we can hear what is our role in all geopolitical developments. The Government of the Republic of Serbia will in 2017, and I believe that this Prime Minister Vučić said, continue to keep a clear policy with the aim of even better positioning of Serbia in Europe and the world, and it will have the support of the Assembly.

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Aleksandar Vučić: I would like first of all to congratulate you for organising this meeting, and for the topics you choose. There is no doubt that the Novi Sad will look even better in 2021, because I heard that there was new energy, a new optimism. Last year when I had the pleasure to welcome you to this conference, and I must tell you that I exactly predicted one thing, and that is that the growth of GDP between Serbia 2.5 and 3%. Yesterday, the US Federal Reserve magnified the benchmark interest rate, and this is one small thing that we have no influence. At the very second such changes appear in our balance sheets. No one therefore should not be worried, because Serbia has economic stability, clean public finances, the question is whether we should have a deficit. Much depends on us how to change themselves, how to restructure public enterprises… Just order and discipline can bring us the result, and I do not want to lie to anyone and I am not interested in the elections. We’ll finish up all the payments and not as a government that we have a deficit, and year-end deficit will be 1.2-1.4%. And this is the first time you speak. We are well on the way, perhaps the safer way than others. If we are responsible enough and smart enough, we will surely succeed. The situation in the world is complicated, complex, difficult, in Serbia it is complicated, especially having in mind the situation in the region, but we have better prospects in 2017 than the world in general. Everything depends on us, our work, our discipline, if we are be good, if we have sound public finances, all obstacles will be overcome. Good work and much success!

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