How would you describe Sweden’s engagement in Serbia and in Montenegro?
We more than thirty employees who work to strengthen the relations between Sweden and Serbia, and Sweden and Montenegro. Our Embassy is one of the largest Swedish embassies in Europe.
We cover a broad agenda. We are engaged in political dialogue, development cooperation, promotion of trade and culture, consular-and migration issues. Apart from the staff from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sida, the Police, the Customs authority and the Armed Forces are represented here.
Serbia, like the entire Western Balkans, is of strategic importance for Sweden. The overall objective is to support Serbia’s EU path. We support Serbia’s reform efforts. And in doing so we contribute to improvement of the quality of life for the people living in Serbia.
One third of our financial support is aimed at strengthening institutions, the judiciary, to promote and protect freedom of the media as well as fight against corruption and organized crime. Each of the areas are cornerstones of democracy. Another area of particular importance is the environment. Sweden is Serbia’s largest bilateral partner and donor within environment.
How is the bilateral trade exchange?
Trade between our countries steadily increases. Hundreds of Swedish companies and distributors are represented in Serbia, and more are getting established. Goods and services that Serbian companies export to Sweden are growing.
We create jobs, reliability, optimism, and belief in the future through mutual trade. Swedish companies excel at sustainable business models and ways of production. This is significant for almost 10 000 employees working in Swedish companies in Serbia, but also sets a good example for the local economy.
How would you describe relations between Sweden and Serbia?
Sweden and Serbia have many common areas, and there is a mutual will and ambition to be good partners. One important reason is the large Serbian diaspora in Sweden, which in many ways serves as a bridge between our countries. One percent of the Swedish population originates from Serbia.
Above all, I believe that our countries face many shared challenges given current global developments. This refers to the environment, climate change, the green transition, equality, transnational crime migration flows. For a long time, the Western Balkans have been a part of Europe where only internal challenges were in focus, but now the time has come to also meet the common challenges.