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German Ambassador to Serbia

President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce

Director of the GermanSerbia Chamber of Commerce (DSW)




Caverns near Saalfeld, have long been famous for their colorful mineral formations formed by water dripping through relatively soft rock. The Guinness Book of World Records has termed the Feengrotten the most colorful cave grottoes in the world.

ANCIENT SOLAR OBSERVATORY The oldest sun observatory currently known in Europe is the socalled Goseck circle in SaxonyAnhalt. It was built some 7,000 years ago, and is considered to be the oldest concrete representation of the cosmos.



Germany has nearly 700 zoological gardens, safari parks, aquariums, animal reserves, including 414 zoos. Berlin's Zoologischer Garten is the largest zoo in the world, both in terms of number of species and animal population.

06 CURRYWURST - A CULT CLASSIC Over 800 million currywurst are eaten in Germany each year, and is a street food that has become a cult classic in Germany. There's even a museum in Berlin dedicated to the popular snack.






1,300 beer breweries in Germany produce 5,000 kinds of beer. German people are the world's second biggest beer drinkers. Munich's Oktoberfest is the world's biggest folk festival, officially dates back to 1810.



The capital of Berlin boasts 960 bridges and 59.8 square km of water consisting of lakes and around 180 km of navigable waterways. Combined with its surrounding state Brandenburg, it houses Europe's largest inland water network.

07 WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS INVENTIONS The Germans are credited for the discovery of insulin, the pocket watch, paraffin, petrol/gasoline & Diesel engines, the automobile engine, differential gear and other important devices, the motorcycle, the jet engine, the LCD screen.



There are 2.5 million halftimbered houses in Germany, by far the highest number of any country worldwide. These are usually top touristic spots, or, on the contrary, well hidden jewels out of the beaten tracks.





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ŽIKICA MILOŠEVIĆ Editor in Chief TANJA BANKOVIĆ Editorial manager ILIJA PETROVIĆ ”INDIGOCHILD” Art director JOVANA MARKOVIĆ Advertising manager VANJA KOVAČEV PR&Event support Nord Communications NATAŠA NEŠIĆ Advertising manager DRAGANA RADOVIĆ Advertising manager






German Ambassador to Serbia

CEO of Siemens Serbia

SERBIA WISHES ABOUT STRONG BONDS WITH 26 LEITNERLEITNER 10 GERMANY German Serbian political, economic and cultural relations

Magazine director ROBERT ČOBAN Director





Managing Director



President Henkel Serbia, Head HR for

President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce




Director of the German-Serbia Chamber of Commerce (DSW)


Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania



DRAGOMIR MARKOVIĆ Senior Project Advisor

DENIS VUKAŠINOVIĆ Chief Operating Officer (COO) of VPC East d.o.o.




Country Director Serbia Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale




Member of the Board of Director of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Gebruder Weiss in Serbia





Zusammenarbeit, GIZ GmbH RUŽA RISTANOVIĆ





Director General of Miele Serbia


Country Manager at Amrop




BASF Srbija Managing Director



Director of InJob International

AXEL DITTMANN German Ambassador to Serbia





Germany is, and will remain, a dedicated and reliable partner to Serbia in its EU accession efforts. It is therefore a clear priority of my job to work closely with our Serbian partners to support Serbia’s reforms on its path towards the EU


xel Dittmann, Ambassador of Germany to Serbia remains optimistic when it comes to Serbia’s EU accession process, which was recently consolidated with the opening of two new chapters, 20 and 26. The ambassador considers that the recent shift in U.S. policy towards EU processes will not affect the process.

In your opinion, in which way could the negative attitude of the new U.S. President towards the further strengthening of the European integration process and Brexit impact on public opinion regarding enlargement in the EU and the prospects of the Western Balkan countries joining the Union? ― Recent global challenges show more clearly than ever that Europe needs to take its destiny into its own hands. And we have, despite all of the turbulence, a good point of departure. The European Union is a unique and remarkable project: twenty-seven

are shared and respected. The result of the British referendum is a watershed for the European family that signals that a far-reaching dialogue on critical issues is needed among the 27 member states. The challenges the EU faces, such as internal reform, the migrant crisis and terrorism, cannot be solved by any one country alone. Populists are playing with people’s fears, not giving them solid arguments or viable solutions. And viable solutions are only to be found in a united and strong European Union. Germany is therefore committed to enlargement and to a constant, vibrant dialogue. In 2004, Europe experienced its biggest phase of enlargement so far, and as a result, the EU not only became larger, but had also gained considerably in terms of experience, history and political influence. We expect that the enlargement of the EU will have a similar beneficial effect for both the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans.

and it can only be tackled through the combined forces of the international community. Populist rhetoric is being intensified during election campaigns – this is the case everywhere in the world. However, as I already mentioned, the truth is that the easy solutions often put forward by the populists in many countries do not exist in reality. Germany is therefore working hard with its European and international partners on various levels to protect the European Union’s external borders, reform the EU asylum system and eliminate the causes of crises. At the same time, Germany is treating refugees with dignity and respect, in accordance with European values. For Germany, there is no alternative to a joint European approach. A lot of concrete steps towards managing and alleviating the crisis have already been made.

Considering the overall situation, what can the EU offer countries like Serbia, and what should our country’s motives be when it comes to

GERMANY HAS CONTRIBUTED SOME 1.6 BILLION EUROS TO SUPPORT LEGAL, ADMINISTRATIVE AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SERBIA SINCE THE YEAR 2000. THIS MAKES GERMANY SERBIA’S BIGGEST BILATERAL DONOR countries, twenty-four languages and more than 500 million people. It originated from a desire for peace, stability and economic prosperity in Europe, and it has served this idea well. It is the biggest internal market and a major job market that allows free movement of workers and great variety of opportunities for young Europeans to study in other member states. It is, in spite of all the cultural differences among the variety of countries, united by a common system of values, where human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights

We want Serbia to become a member of the European Union! As such, a clear priority of my job is to work closely with our Serbian partners to support Serbia’s reforms on its path towards the EU. Germany is, and will remain, a dedicated and reliable partner to Serbia in its EU accession efforts.

How could the refugee crisis and the crisis facing the European idea impact on the results of both the French and German elections, and the destiny of Europe as a whole? ― The refugee crisis is a great humanitarian and international challenge,

continuing with the European integration process? ― The EU accession process is, in its essence, an offer to undertake a process of comprehensive transformation to a modern and prosperous model of a state, judiciary and economy. The EU is a powerful market and legal system, but it is also a union of values. Serbia has declared these values as its strategic goal. Ultimately, however, Serbia is adopting these values and reforms itself for its own sake and the sake of its people. The EU is there to offer its financial and technical support, as well as its guidelines.




important that the dialogue continues and that the Association/Community of Serb Municipalities be implemented, as an important element.

The EU has been, and continues to be, Serbia’s biggest donor and a vocal supporter of Serbia’s reform path. Germany has, since the year 2000, contributed some 1.6 billion euros to support the legal, administrative and educational development of Serbia. This makes Germany Serbia’s biggest bilateral donor.

With this in mind, how do you interpret the deadlock in the implementation of the Brussels agreement and the uncertain timeline for opening new EU accession chapters for Serbia? ― Serbia has already opened six chapters and closed one. Among those are also the key chapters concerning the rule of law: chapters 23 and 24. The implementation of reform is more important than opening further chapters. Elaborate action plans for chapters 23 and 24 still need to be




implemented. The true transformation of Serbian society depends on this implementation. And the true beneficiaries of the transformation are the Serbian people. I am very happy that we have just opened two further chapters, namely 20 and 26. This is a convincing signal that Serbia is continuing the accession process in a dynamic way. Regarding the dialogue with Pristina, you must not forget why this process is being undertaken and what has already been achieved. At its core is the desire to normalise relations in such a way that citizens – Serbs and Kosovars – enjoy better living conditions. Progress has been achieved, such as in the area of the freedom of movement and recognition of certificates and diplomas. It is important that the recent crisis has been overcome by the dialogue moderated by the High Representative in Brussels. It is now


What are the main characteristics of German-Serbian bilateral relations and could the results of the German election have a bearing on them? ― German-Serbian relations are excellent overall. Our good political cooperation is underscored by numerous visits by German politicians to Serbia and vice versa. In the economic sphere, trade and investment are important pillars of our bilateral relations. Germany has been one of Serbia’s key trading partners for years. More than 350 German businesses operate in Serbia. These companies range from relatively small SMEs to large production sites. German companies have invested more than 1.8 billion euros in the country. According to a survey conducted by the German Chamber of Commerce in 2016, 90 per cent of German firms would choose to invest in Serbia again. Many German companies are expanding their activities with addidtional investments. We enjoy a broad cultural exchange: German companies are participating in many important festivals in Serbia, a German conductor will be leading the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra this season and DJs and dance groups are constantly collaborating... And, of course, there is the human factor, with nearly 300,000 Serbs living in Germany. Excellent bilateral relations and support for Serbia’s EU integration are a shared goal of German policy. I am sure that this will continue – whatever the result of our elections will be. To what extent could presidential and possible parliamentary elections in Serbia slow down the reform effort? ― Election processes always lead to a certain amount of delay in the implementation of reform. For us, it is important that these delays do not last too long. Serbia has set out on the path of serious transformation and this momentum should be maintained. In which area has Serbia made the most progress? ― Serbia has made considerable progress in the field of economic reform. A number of important measures have been taken to consolidate the state

budget and improve the business climate. The most important contribution here will be the full implementation of the laws adopted on economic reform, e.g. the labour law, the privatisation law, the insolvency law and the law on construction permits. This needs to be continued in close cooperation with the IMF. Overall, the reform process has entered into a crucial phase with the opening of the chapters on the rule of law. A great deal remains to be done here, but this is the real key to transformation, and it is excellent that Serbia now holds this in its hands.

How successful has Serbia been in exerting a positive influence on stability in the region and in dealing with the challenges of the refugee crisis? ― Regional stability is of utmost importance for the region. We appreciate Serbia’s support for the integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I hope that good neighbourly relations, including with Croatia, will improve in the time to come. For Germany, it is important that the region cooperates successfully

and makes progress towards the EU. Having this goal in mind, Chancellor Merkel and then Foreign Minister Steinmeier initiated the so-called “Berlin Process” three years ago, with a yearly conference of the countries from the WEB-Region at which concrete joint projects and cooperation with the EU are discussed. This conference, which has already been held in Berlin, Vienna and Paris, has brought substantial progress to regional economic and cultural relations: concrete agreements in the field of infrastructure have been reached, and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) has been established. RYCO officially started its work in January this year. Germany appreciates the constructive role that has been taken by the Serbian state and its civil society in the refugee crisis. It is good that Serbia opened up new reception centres in the recent cold winter months. The international community, the EU and Germany have made considerable bilateral contributions to alleviating the crisis and will continue to do so. NGOs play a pivotal role in helping the people.


Are you satisfied with the pace at which members of the Roma minority included in the readmission programme in Germany have been returning to Serbia; and are you happy with their level of integration into Serbian society? ― It is very important to be aware of one thing, which is that citizens from Western Balkan states do not fall into the category of refugees in Germany. Serbia has been declared a safe country of origin. Therefore, asylum seekers from Serbia – a European country that is preparing to join the EU – cannot be treated as refugees. More than 99.9 per cent of these applications are rejected. These people simply have to return to Serbia. They will also be banned from re-entering the entire Schengen area. Requesting asylum in Germany is not the way ahead if you want to live and work in Germany. We are working closely with the Serbian government in the context of readmission. We are aware that the position of the Roma minority is not easy, and this is why Germany is supporting many programmes that improve their living condiditons and support their integration.





SERBIA WISHES STRONG BONDS WITH GERMANY In the last few years, the German-Serbian bilateral relations have grown tremendously, while Serbian officials have singled out Germany as Serbia’s most important partner in the EU integration process. They also see establishing connections between Serbian and German economy as the key priority, and view Germany as a role model in many other areas too


ermany is the key partner of Serbia in the EU since the country’s transition to democracy back in 2000. Through bilateral projects and the projects implemented by the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, Germany has been rendering full support to democratic governments on establishing a modern, Europe-orientated Serbia. Germany has been supporting political and economic reforms in Serbia with the aim of advancing the process of democratic change and promotion of the rule of law as well as securing the stability and security in the Western Balkan. In the last few years, the German-Serbian bilateral relations have grown tremendously, while Serbian officials have singled out Germany as Serbia’s most important partner in the EU integration process. They also see establishing connections between Serbian and German economy as the key priority, and view Germany as a role model in many other areas too. At the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Serbian Prime Minister A. Vucic, paid the official visit to Berlin, on 11-12 June 2014, 30 June 2014, 18 May 2015, and 7 September 2015. Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Serbia on 22-23 August 2011, and on 89 July 2015. Sigmar Gabriel, Vice Chancellor of Germany and Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, visited Serbia





on 16-17 November 2014. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the Republic of Serbia on April 28, 2015. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier took part in the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, 3-4 December 2015, in Belgrade. In recent years, Germany has become Serbia’s biggest bilateral donor, providing more than EUR 1.6 billion in bilateral development cooperation since 2000. Most of the donations were channelled into modernisation of the Serbia’s public utility infrastructure, strengthening of the local economy through programmes to promote small and medium-sized enterprises, modernisation of vocational training measures and improvement of the investment climate through legal reforms. Most of the German-funded development cooperation projects in Serbia are implemented by the KfW Development Bank, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, (GIZ,) and the Centrum für internationale Migration und Entwicklung (CIM). For years, Germany has been among Serbia’s principal economic partners. The value of foreign trade

has been constantly growing over the past few years reaching almost 4 billion euros in 2016. Many German companies, which operate in Serbia, contribute to this result. Among them are STADA, METRO, Henkel, Siemens, Bosch and Messer, which have made major investments in Serbia. There is a potential for further development and a tendency of foreign trade growth. In the last two to three years alone, about 150 companies with German capital started their operations in Serbia. The German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce was founded in April 2016. The Goethe Institute in Belgrade is the major vehicle for promotion of cultural cooperation between two countries. German artists and performers are frequent guests at Serbia’s theatre, music and film festivals and vice versa. Furthermore, there is a vivid academic and scientific exchange. Germany provides humanitarian aid to Serbia to help the country deal with the refugee crisis. Serbia has a strong diaspora in Germany, where about 300,000 and 500,000 people of Serbian descent currently live, which makes strong bond between two countries.







President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce

The economic and political cooperation with Germany has reached its highest level in the last decade and a half


ermany tops the list of the biggest investors in Serbia, it is one of our biggest foreign trade partners, and the biggest bilateral donor which, all together, translates into a strong support to the Serbian economy in boosting its regional connections, and increasing its capacity for the implementation of the European integration process.

How would you rate the overall quality of the Serbian-German economic cooperation? ― Germany has invested over 3.5 billion EUR in Serbia so far and donated funds in support of various development projects in an effort to boost the capacity of the Serbian economy. The foreign trade between the two countries, aided by investments and export activities of German companies operating in Serbia, as well as by the heightened demand for Serbian products in Germany, has reached its highest level in the last ten




years, and has increased severalfold compared to the decade earlier which is very important for the relatively small Serbian economy. The value of the trade between the two countries last year was almost 4 billion US dollars (or 3.98 billion EUR). Our exporters, which number has been growing year-on-year to now over 2,200, exported 1.75 billion EUR worth of goods and services to Germany, which is a 16.4% hike compared to 2015. Also, German export to Serbia grew, albeit slower than last year, by 10% to 2.23 billion EUR. The growing export of Serbian services has added to the quality of the trade between the two countries in the last few years. The export amounted to the value of 420 million EUR, while the two countries exported 663 million EUR worth of services to each other. Serbia recorded a 177-million-EUR-surplus here.

Records show that there are close to 350 German companies operat-


ing in Serbia. What can be done to increase this number? ― Only in the last month and a half, four factories have either begun to be built or have been opened – IGB Automotive has opened a production facility in Inđija, Leoni opened the one in Subotica, and Knott Autoflex (a mixed German-Hungarian-Serbian company) has opened a factory in Bečej. Lidl is already building its first supermarkets in Serbia, Kromberg&Schubert has started preliminary works on the construction of a factory in Kruševac, Tönnies is getting ready to implement a huge investment in 20 modern pig farms, while Hydroweb is going to build a production facility in Jagodina. The German companies that are already operating here are extending their existing capacities, the new ones are arriving, and the number of German companies in Serbia has grown to now over 350. When a German company decides to invest, that is usually long-term. In the last survey conducted by the German-Ser-

bian Chamber of Commerce, over 90% of the surveyed companies said that they would invest in Serbia again. Their satisfaction with their existing operations here is also growing, as are positive expectations and the number of those companies which have already prepared new investment projects in Serbia. It is very important for the reforms to continue, for our public administration to become more efficient, for legal security to be higher, for the tax system to provide more incentives, and for the tax administration to be more in tune with the needs of businesses in order for shadow economy to further decline and for the transparency of public acquistions to increase.

How much do German manufacturers contribute to re-industrialization of Serbia? ― Most of the 1.8 billion EUR of German investments here and the majority of the high-value projects have ended up in production – mainly in automobile, electronic, food, pharma-

German origin. It is in the best interest of Serbian companies to cooperate with their German counterparts, to become a part of their supply chains, as well as a part of their production and investment plans and projects. German investments hold an even bigger importance in regard to the future especially when we bear in mind that Germany is the creator of the concept behind the fourth industrial revolution where digital technologies are closely connected to industrial processes and logistics.

How important are German investments for lesser developed areas in Serbia? ― In regard to regional distribution of German investments in Serbia, German investors operate in the entire country, from its north to its south. As it is true for most investments, German ones are also mostly located along the main transport arteries, on the key transport corridors, but there is an increasing number of German investments

in lesser developed areas are higher than those for developed areas, and the state is directing more and more funds and resources towards development of infrastructure, there is still a lot of work to be done especially on the local level in order for us to boost the investment appeal of these areas to Germany and other countries.

How much will the implementation of dual education increase Serbia's investment appeal to Germany and other countries? ― There are two issues that potential investors consider when analyzing a certain business or investment destination – number one is infrastructure, and number two is the quality of the workforce. The inclusion of dual education in our regular schooling system as of this autumn is in the best interests of domestic and foreign companies because the schooling system will now produce worker profiles that are in line with the economy's needs while employers will have more of

THERE ARE TWO ISSUES THAT POTENTIAL INVESTORS CONSIDER WHEN ANALYZING A CERTAIN BUSINESS OR INVESTMENT DESTINATION – NUMBER ONE IS INFRASTRUCTURE, AND NUMBER TWO IS THE QUALITY OF THE WORKFORCE ceutical and chemical industry. These investments are very important for the Serbian economy, not only for the capital they bring and better export results of Serbia, but also because of the new projects that involve our companies, for creation of new jobs, for the transfer of know-how and technology, and for the implementation of modern business standards and business formats that can serve as a role model for Serbian companies. Serbian economy has been traditionally leaning on German technology for years – 75% of the machinery and equipment in our factories is of

made in undeveloped areas in Serbia, i.e. in municipalities and towns which development level is below the country average. For instance, Leoni has invested in Prokuplje and Malošište near Doljevac, Grammer has invested in Aleksinac, Knauf in Surdulica, Gruner in Vlasotince, Magna in Odžaci, E. A. Systems in Priboj, and the list goes on. They have not only created jobs for people who otherwise would probably not be able to find jobs in their respective towns and areas, but also improved the economies in these parts of the country. Although, the state incentives for investments

better trained workforce at their disposal. It was German companies which have initially suggested the implementation of dual education because they were aware of the benefits they had from such education in their own country. In creating our own dual education format, we mostly looked up to the German model and experiences while combining it with the Austrian and Swiss ones. Through the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), German government is implementing a project titled “Reform Vocational Education” in Serbia and thus provides a strong




support to the implementation of dual education in our country. German companies were the first to get involved in the project, and to take students to their production facilities who are now being trained in line with the dual model. Some companies, like Robert Bosch which operates in Pećinci, have also hired the students to work with them permanently following the completion of their education.

As of last autumn, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce has been issuing the so-called detachments, i.e. a form of German working permits, for the employees of Serbian companies which had signed relevant contracts with their German partners. How popular are these working permits? ― For the first time in 13 years, at the initiative of various businesses, the Chamber has started issuing Serbian companies, which have contracted projects with German companies, with the so-called detachments (or approvals for hiring workers). The government's decision for the Ministry of Labour to commission the Serbian Chamber of Commerce to do this job has proven to be the most efficient solution for businesses. As of 1st October 2016, when the detachment year officially started, the Chamber has issued over 300 detach-




ments in the shortest possible time, namely in two days after it had received such request from a company. The criteria for allocation of detachment quotas are clear, the application procedure has been simplified, and the applications are processed rather quickly. In order to further improve the process of issuing detachments and reduce costs for businesses, we are going to create e-application in the following period which is going to be available via the Chamber's e-services website. Also, the support that the Chamber provides to companies in obtaining detachments and monitoring of how many of them have been used on a monthly level have already resulted in a higher utilization of the detachment contingents. The quota that Serbia has been assigned for the current detachment year, which lasts until 30th September, is 2,770 workers a month. By supporting our companies, our goal is to make sure that available quotas are fully used, and for as many of our companies to conclude business deals in Germany. The implementation of the detachment project and the additional support for our companies will be one of the topics of the meeting between the Chamber and the German Federal Employment Agency scheduled for late March.


Which of the Chamber's projects, implemented together with German organizations and institutions, would you like to single out? ― Apart from conducting the reforms and improving the chamber system to better represent businesses and provide more efficient services to them, and working on dual education which is one of the Chamber's top priorities that is also high up on the Serbian government's agenda, we have been working together on including Serbian industry in the euro-environmental integrations, i.e. on creating conditions for implementation of circular economy. We are also discussing the opportunities for expanding our cooperation to include metal processing industry, organic food production and ICT. We have been educating export managers to reflect the similar education and certification process in Germany, as well as organizing supplier days for German companies which is especially important for small and medium enterprises in Serbia. After organizing business forums in several German states, and the Day of Suppliers from the Western Balkans in Munich and Dortmund several years ago, we also have 20 German companies coming to Belgrade in late March to talk to our companies from metal processing and plastics processing / production sector under the umbrella of the initiative called “Buyers Initiative of German Companies from the North Rhine-Westphalia State”. Furthermore, we are currently testing the capacity for creating a guarantee scheme that would provide funding both from Serbia and abroad for entrepreneurial projects. We believe that, come September, we are going to continue our cooperation on the DIHK-CEFTA project under the auspices of the Western Balkan Chamber Investment Forum on Development of SME Sector. The Chamber Investment Forum, which was formed following the initiative of the chambers of commerce from Serbia and Kosovo under the Berlin Process and which assembles eight chambers of commerce from the region, proved to be a strong cohesive platform that contributes to removing the obstacles to doing business and investing, establishes connections between business communities, and facilitates political normalization in the region.







Director of the German-Serbia Chamber of Commerce (DSW)

While investors are mostly looking to move labour-intensive production to Serbia, in ideal circumstances, more sophisticated and complex ones would complement them. Media reports suggesting that the region is in a new phase of political instability are not helping that cause


or quite some time, Serbia and the region were in the news as newfound destinations for German and other EU companies looking to move part of their production that is dependent on a relatively strong supply of lowskilled labour with highly competitive wages. However, numerous circles of elections in the region, followed by accusations among the leading politicians in the Western Balkans, seem to be moving the region backwards. In this interview, Martin Knapp, Director of the German-Serbia Chamber of Commerce (AHK Serbia), emphasises the well-known fact that capital is shy of any imbalances and that the




merous in Serbia, especially in rural areas. That is why these investments in Serbia are very welcome. In the long term, however, they must be complemented by investments in more complex manufacturing, where younger people with higher qualifications can be employed. Sometimes labour-intensive manufacturing can be transformed into production with more sophisticated technology and higher added value. This would, of course, be an ideal prospect for the future of Serbian industry.

current stream of investments might be jeopardised by some political irritations. We also spoke with Mr Knapp about AHK activities.

Which industrial branches in Serbia do you see as the most appealing to German investors? ― At the moment, automotive component suppliers are showing the greatest interest in investment in Serbia. These are mostly investments in so-called labour-intensive productions, which can pay off only in countries where wages are still relatively low. Workers in these factories usually have a low level of formal qualifications. These workers are still very nu-


What do AHK's members, which operate in Serbia, expect from AHK, and how does your organisation meet their needs? ― A bilateral foreign trade chamber has companies from all sectors, both small and large ones among its members. We have everything from language schools to insurance companies and steel works. Of course, they don’t all have the same needs. We will try to do everything, if our members need it, regardless of what that is. One has a problem with the authorities, another one is looking for a

cooperation partner and a third needs a loan. We try to be helpful in all cases.

Which of AHK's activities would you like to single out as being the most important for boosting mutual economic cooperation? ― In the past two years, we have carried out the Westbalkan buyers initiative, together with the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Association for Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics (BME). This is about using the industrial capacity of the Western Balkans as a supplier to German industry. German factories cannot produce everything themselves. They urgently need suppliers, which we find for them in this region, so far mainly in the metal sector. This year plastics and IT will be added. The aim of the initiative is not least to contribute to more balanced bilateral trade.

How competitive are the conditions that Serbia offers investors compared to other countries in the region, and in which areas should Serbia exert additional efforts to increase its appeal? ― Investment incentives are quite comparable in all countries of the region, and so are the cost structures. There are, of course, differences rooted in geography. Serbia is, for example, on the Danube, which at the moment is used far too little as a transport route. If you stand on the banks of the Rhine, you can see a freight vessel passing every few minutes. Here on the Danube you often have to wait hours to see a ship. How successful was the second Serbian Visions multi-conference? ― We are very satisfied, as are most of our co-organisers. You know that

young people are partly trained at school and partly in companies. This system contributes significantly to the fact that there is very little youth unemployment in Germany. Like many other governments, the Serbian government is also interested in introducing this system, at least in those areas where the Serbian economy competes directly with other economies, such as in the exporting industry or in sectors where foreign direct investment can be expected. Potential investors always ask about the quality of vocational training in the country.

How would you rate the quality of the cooperation between AHK and the Serbian government? ― We have the possibility to present our views to the government, either directly or via the council of bilateral chambers, which was established at

IN THE PAST TWO YEARS, WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE AHK, GERMAN COMPANIES WERE MOSTLY LOOKING FOR SUPPLIERS IN THE METAL SECTOR IN SERBIA. IN 2017, PLASTICS AND IT WILL BE ADDED To what extent can the good experiences of investors operating here affect the interest shown by new or potential German investors? ― Positive experiences gained by investors who are already active in the country, of course, help to attract others. But politics has to play along. At the moment, when reports are appearing in the media suggesting that a new phase of political instability has begun in the Balkans, it is to be feared that potential investors will stay away. Capital is known to be a very shy deer, a fact some politicians in the region do not seem to understand. This would probably change quickly if the voters punished any politician taking part in senseless arguments with the neighbours by disregarding them.

we conduct Serbian Visions together with 60 NGOs, institutes, foundations etc. It is a festival of civil society in which each of the participating institutions invites its entire community, in order to mix the public and make the Radisson Blu Hotel a meeting place for all who volunteer to work towards realising the vision of a better future in the country, no matter in what area.

In which areas do AHK and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia cooperate the closest? ― We work closely together in many areas. The most spectacular cooperation is conducted in the field of vocational training. In Germany we have the so-called dual system, in which

the CCIS. It is important that a government speaks with stakeholders when it comes to adopting laws that can influence the economy. Economic interrelations are very complex nowadays. That’s why politicians need the assistance of those who are affected by the relevant legislation in order to understand the consequences of every initiative they are going to take. Even a well-intentioned reform can literally backfire if you don’t consider every parameter. Therefore, the economy needs an efficient self-administration in the form of powerful economic chambers, which are the voice of the entire business community. Fortunately, this is now the case in Serbia, since the new Chamber Act came into force.




Country Director Serbia Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ GmbH


DEVELOPMENT Our goal is to help our counterparts to find good solutions to their problems on their way towards sustainable development. We provide advisory support or technical assistance 18



he Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, is commissioned to implement contributions to Serbian development cooperation projects, said Mr Gerhard Sippel, Country Director of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Serbia.

Which major reforms in Serbia will be supported by GIZ in the midterm? ― You might say that GIZ will therefore support reforms deemed important by Serbia and donors who want their contributions to be implemented through GIZ. These donors typically include Swiss De-

velopment Cooperation and the European Union besides Germany. At the moment, we receive most of our commissions from Germany and we do not expect this to change over the midterm. Our focus will therefore mirror priority areas of Serbian-German development cooperation. We will continue to work towards EU rapprochement, further strengthening good governance, economic development, vocational training, advances in energy efficiency and renewables, to help improve living conditions for everybody. GIZ is not a donor, neither do we finance big investment programmes. Our goal is to help our counterparts to find good solutions to their problems on their way

PHOTO: Miodrag Bogdanović


towards sustainable development. We provide advisory support or technical assistance. Our national and international experts work with many Serbian institutions. Joint Serbian-German pilot projects generate lessons learnt which can spread quickly to scale up their impact. For example, we try to assist Serbian institutions to achieve greater energy efficiency in more than 16,000 schools or kindergartens. One of the first steps we worked on was the introduction of the Serbian Law on Energy Efficiency and the Serbian energy efficiency action plan. Generating energy from biomass has much potential in Serbia and will help to decrease dependency on fossil fuels. We work with the Serbian Ministry for Agriculture and Environmental Protection to improve the political and economic framework conditions, raising public awareness not only of problems but – more importantly – of solutions, and facilitating access to the private sector into this thus far underdeveloped sector of the economy.

How much has GIZ involvement helped in the current efforts of the Serbian government in improving business climate and overall busi-

for SMEs such as business incubators or the formation of business associations or clusters.

Why has GIZ decided to support the development of the circular economy in Serbia and what are the long term goals? ― The German Federal Government supports Serbia's efforts in establishing environmental standards of the European Union and commisioned GIZ to implement the German contribution to this process. Increased recovery and recycling of waste will “close the loops” of waste materials which will contribute to energy savings and reduced environmental pollution. A circular


will increase GDP by 0,8 % and generate 2 million new jobs in the EU until 2030. The Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that a circular economy in Serbia could generate 30,000 new jobs and increase competitiveness of the national economy, especially in the recycling sector. Taking into account the recommendations of the European Commission, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Ministry of Economy and the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, the process of developing a national strategy of circular economy in the field of waste management was launched aiming to ensure long-term sustainability. It is estimated that in the agriculture and food sectors packaging and electronic and electrical products have the biggest potential for circular business models in Serbia.

Over the past years, you were very much involved in projects related to support to young people through education and professional orientation. How well these programs faired and what would be in your focus in the near future? ― We are working with young people to address vocational education and professional orientation issues. With

WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARDS EU RAPPROCHEMENT, FURTHER STRENGTHENING GOOD GOVERNANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, VOCATIONAL TRAINING, ADVANCES IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLES ness framework? ― In the past six years we have been working to further improve conditions for business in Serbia. We facilitated public-private dialogues in different fields such as organic agriculture, information technologies, quality standards and SME strategies. We worked closely with local authorities to develop SME support programmes

economy emphasizes resource efficiency, financial savings the grothe of new business opportunities. Waste prevention, eco-design and recovery may contribute to net saving of 600 billion EUR, or 8% of annual turnover of EU companies, with a simultaneous reduction of greenhouse gases emissions. Estimates hold that a 30% increase of resource productivity

the Ministry of Youth and Sports support youth to be better position themselves on the labour market through an integrated approach. The approach is implemented through career guidance and job counselling, short and medium-term vocational training, job placements and youth self-employment and entrepreneurship training and support.





DRAGAN SIMOVIĆ Member of the Board of Director of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Gebruder Weiss in Serbia

SILK ROAD – CONNECTING EUROPE AND ASIA Reviving the historic Silk Road with the help of multimodal transport concepts – that is our vision


ramatic technological changes impact and cause changes in the business environment and the development of digital operations. The emergence of smart phones, social networks and the development of ICT bring a wide range of business opportunities and direct communication between producers and end consumers. A new online marketplace has been created that has no borders. This market is the world’s largest, and in order to survive on it companies are increasingly paying attention to reputation and their sustainability in the virtual business world.

What are your company’s ambitions in this second decade of doing business in Serbia? — As a leader in the transport and logistics market, we have a responsibility to constantly improve ourselves, both in terms of our services and products, but also in terms of our employees. We launched operations in 2004 with one office and 20 em-




MAIN GOAL We will continue to advocate for the principles of quality, safety, health and compliance with the law

ployees. Today, company Gebruder Weiss Serbia employs 300 people at locations in Dobanovci, Strojkovac, Niš and Novi Sad, and is synonymous with optimal transport and logistics solutions, the highest quality of service, full commitment to the customer, reliability and professionalism. Expectations in the availability of goods, regardless of their geographical position, as well as direct contact with end consumers, set new demands for logistics providers. The habits of customers and vendors have changed. The development of ICT and the internet redefine and impact on the concept of managing traditional supply chains. Our clients increasingly expect to connect their IT systems, via user interfaces, with the IT systems of logistics service providers. All of this has led to the development of a completely new range of logistic service providers, such as “Business to Consumer”. We will strive, in the second decade of our operations in Serbia, to expand geographically and make

new investments, strategically secure stable operations and respond to the requests of each client, following the development trend of modern technologies. The key values of Gebruder Weiss are independence, sustainability, commitment and quality of service. In our operations we will continue to advocate for the principles of quality, safety, health and compliance with the law, and we will also adhere to our main goal, and that is customer satisfaction.

How much would infrastructure linking via the road and rail network, as well as the construction of Corridors 10 and 11, make your operations more efficient? — The favourable natural and geographical position of Serbia represents our comparative advantage for the development of road, river, air and rail transport, and enables us to attract transit traffic. Serbia is located at the centre of the Balkans, on the crossroads of major transport corridors VII and X. Through our territory

extend the shortest and most rational transit road and rail connections, from western and central Europe towards the countries of southern Europe and the Middle and Far East. Construction of new motorways along the Corridor 10 and Corridor 11 routes, as well as the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Bar railway, contributes to overall economic and social development. Important industrial cities in Serbia will be connected, thus accessibility will make the economies in these regions available to both domestic and foreign investors. Service activities in places that are in the zone of the highway will revive the economy in those regions, and thus also increase the number of employees. The construction of the highway will direct a significant number of vehicles from Asian countries to Europe, and this will increase income at road toll booths, with those funds pouring into the national budget and strengthening the financial stability of the country. Montenegro is one of Serbia’s most important foreign trade partners. The construction of Corridor 11

How do the decrease of simplified customs procedures and the acquisition of the status of an Authorised Economic Operator reflect on your company?

will enable the more efficient transport of goods, which will be reflected in a reduction of costs and an increase in Serbian exports. The arrival of new investments will increase the need to transport shipments and our logistical company is ready to respond to these requests. The well-organised transportation network of our branches will enable the fast delivery and arrival of shipments. Gebrüder Weiss offers daily shipments of goods from Belgrade to Montenegro. With the construction of Corridor 11, these goods will be transported to their final destination faster and more efficiently.

ised economic operator is established on the basis of the customs regulations of the EU, which enables businesses that comply with the regulations and are reliable to use exemptions linked to customs procedures and customs control. Gebruder Weiss holds the third type of authorisation, AEU for customs simplifications/security and safety (“AEO F”), which is issued to businesses that fulfil the criteria for compliance with customs regulations, have the appropriate standards of record keeping, financial solvency and respect applicable safety and protection standards. Custom-

— Simplified customs procedures are intended to facilitate the import and export of goods, increase competitiveness and thereby contribute to more economical and efficient operations. Easier customs procedures start with simplified declarations of goods in import and export, and acquiring the status of a privileged importer. We employ 30 experienced freight forwarders, of which 10 are representatives of certified customs agents, who use their expertise and knowledge to represent our clients in customs procedures. Among providers of transportation and logistics services, we were the first in Serbia to receive confirmation of stats as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). On 1st September 2014 the customs authorities approved our application for the status of an AEU and we were one of five companies to submit requests for that status. An author-

ers who transport goods with Gebruder Weiss will be able to receive their goods faster, due to simplified import/export customs procedures enabling the faster and easier transit of goods at border crossings.

MONITORING CLIENTS Our campaign this year, under the slogan “Silk Road – Bridging Europe and Asia”, shows that we are monitoring our clients.

Serbia has big plans regarding its positioning on the New Silk Road. How important is this dimension for your company, which is already active along part of this route? — The “Silk Road” was popular from the 4th to the 8th centuries and is the most famous trade route of all time. A leading commercial role along that road was played by the inhabitants of Sogdia, the ancient Iranian civilization that developed on the territory of today’s Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The inhabitants of this ancient land were great merchants who did not only trade, but also played an important role in linking civilisations and cultures – linking East, via today’s Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia, with the other countries of the West. Economic growth in Central Asia in the coming years will contribute to China's infrastructure initiative “One belt - one road”. This is the idea behind the “New Silk Road” project, which was first presented in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping. This project will encompass 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. This project represents a great opportunity for Serbia, thanks to its geographical position. In order for goods to cross Serbia on their way westwards it is essential to build new highways and to equip the hi-speed rail link from Belgrade to Budapest. That part of the railroad will be designed by Serbian and Chinese experts, with trains moving as fast as 200 km per hour. In order to connect efficiently with areas along the Silk Road, Gebruder Weiss, as an expert in logistics, and thanks to it having its own branches along the ancient Silk Road, can offer the seamless flow of goods to these regions. Our campaign this year, under the slogan “Silk Road – Bridging Europe and Asia”, shows that we are monitoring our clients. New projects are significant for our longterm development, as they ensure greater competitiveness and better services for our clients. Reviving the historic Silk Road with the help of multimodal transport concepts – that is our vision!





SIMON FRANKO BASF Srbija Managing Director

SATISFIED CUSTOMERS ARE OUR FIRST GOAL We want to grow together with our customers and in doing so comply with all their needs and requirements


ASF is the world's largest chemicals manufacturer with the headquarters in Ludwigshafen am Rhein. This German giant, who celebrated 150th anniversary two years ago, has companies in more than eighty countries and supplies products to a large number of business partners in nearly every part of the world. At the end of 2016, the company employed more than 114,000 people and posted sales of EUR58 billion. For this issue we spoke with Simon Franko (46), BASF Srbija Managing Director who is a chemical engineer with 18 years of BASF experience. His career in BASF is related to various positions within the Coatings Division, including Managing Director roles of BASF Coatings Services in Slovenia and Romania and Account Manager role of Renault for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). Currently, Simon Franko is Managing Director responsible for Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.




see improvements in the field of food safety, so we would wish for Serbia to open Chapters 11 and 12 – Agriculture and Rural Development and Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy.

How much is Serbia’s EU integration process important for BASF business? — The European Union is an exquisite example of how people and countries can collaborate across borders and diversity boundaries. In BASF, we perceive diversity as one of the key factors for doing business, therefore we constantly promote differences as way of connecting. We have monitored Serbia’s economic and political situation since 1985, when BASF opened office in Belgrade and we regard Serbia as a fast evolving and extremely important part of South-East Europe’s market. Serbia opened Chapters 5, 23, and 24, which will help further establishment of rules, reliability of the legal system and it will ensure a decrease of unnecessary bureaucratic process and more transparency and competency in administrative and legislative processes. These advances are very important for foreign companies in Serbia, such as BASF. In future, we would be glad to

According to you, what is the most important prerequisite for creating synergy on the regional market from the aspect of economic policies (tax, customs policies, etc.)?

KEY FACTORS In BASF we also perceive diversity as one of the key factors for doing business

— We need simple and fast procedures since contemporary productions are planned on the “just-intime” principle. But for example, customs, functions on a different principle – procedures vary and you cannot plan well enough. Customs are there to protect local interests, but due to the outdated procedures or situation on the market, they are now working against local interests. Nowadays, you simply cannot leave a truck waiting at a border. Moreover, product registration is sometimes a big problem. For ex-

ample, we tested and redistricted product in the EU and the US and then we must do it again in Serbia. If a product is up to standards of the EU regulations, it would be normal to assume it is up to standard in Serbia also. Trice the testing, trice the cost and if the market is small, companies don’t even want to apply for registration and the product never reaches the market, which is just bad for customers.

What led you to opt for educational programs for children within BASF’s Corporate Citizenship strategy?

Which are the most important BASF’s business goals for 2017? — Satisfied customers are our first and most important goal! We want to grow together with our customers and in doing so comply with all their needs and requirements. Observing the situation in Serbia, I don’t see why we wouldn’t grow to our customers’ needs – economic situation, GDP and liquidity are better. So, if we don’t grow, the problem lies with and not in the market.

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE In BASF we believe chemistry will help humanity lead a life of better quality, in a healthier environment and help secure a sustainable future

— Chemistry isn’t easy to understand. Therefore, it is rarely a favourite subject in school. In BASF we believe chemistry will help humanity lead a life of better quality, in a healthier environment and help secure a sustainable future. That is why we want to familiarize children with chemistry and help them recognize it as a part of everyday life and not only as an abstract thought from a laboratory. Europe needs more people educated in natural sciences and we believe our educational programs are efficient way of getting children interested in studying chemistry; for example, in Serbia we partner with the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Belgrade. In cooperation with them we have been managing projects called Chemgeneration, meant for high-school students and BASF Kids’ Lab – educational workshops for elementary schools. These projects are meant to promote chemistry and natural sciences.


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UDO EICHLINGER CEO of Siemens Serbia

SERBIA DOES A GREAT JOB IN ATTRACTING FOREIGN INVESTORS Our Subotica plant is working at full capacity and we are satisfied with this development


believe the environment in Serbia is ready for an investor like Siemens and I have seldom seen such a dynamic government and program to attract foreign investors in the country

What are your this year’s expectations in business and how much the general environment for doing business in Serbia are favorable for realization of your plans? — I believe the environment in Serbia is ready for any investor and I have seldom seen such a dynamic government program to get foreign investors in the country and Serbia does a great job there. However, a company that actually comes here has to be aware that there are certain obstacles as well. There are many important factors to attract in-




vestors and to keep them in the country. My messages to the government remain the same as before, that for every company the business environment is the key factor. Complicated VAT system, complicated process of imports and exports, combination of tax policy, and stability, are the most important factors for further investments. Business environment in Serbia needs to be as simple as possible. Entrepreneurs need to be focused on further business development and growth while following global trends. My personal belief, along with the Siemens position, is that any business has to be sustainable on its own. If it needs subsidies to survive then it’s not sustainable and that is why Siemens did not take any subsidies. We run two types of businesses. One is the production, and the other one is project executions and sales of

FIRST CLOUD We are providing the first cloud infrastructure that will allow our customers to offer services using worldwide data collated from their applications.

equipment and solutions in the field of industry, transport, infrastructure, energy. Coming to the Subotica environment we are 100 % exporting, we are not depending at all on the Serbian state in regards to the outcome of the business itself. But we are depending on the easiness of doing business when it comes to customs regulations and general taxation and general administration. And as an investor, here we do see improvement potential but also willingness from the authorities to work on the open topics. As far as the factory is concerned, we are very satisfied with our development trough years. The picture on the Divisions side is very much diversified. With all the burden of delaying and lowering numbers of tenders we are faced with a challenge that complicates reaching our targets and expected profitability. This situation is very much a challenge in business generally, as our shareholders would like to have clear picture and reliable forecasts from their operating companies. On

the other hand, the latest developments in infrastructure projects give us some indication that business in Mobility Division is speeding up a little. As those are mostly Chinese and Russian Investments, we can just emphasize the importance to keep European Standards, especially in the field of Railway infrastructure. When it comes to engagements in the cities, we are talking to all relevant authorities to define strategies and roadmaps for improving life of people living in them, by offering Siemens advanced technologies in all infrastructure areas. One of those are solutions for integrating methods and systems to reduce traffic congestion and its logical managing. With most of the bigger systems we offered our know-how and experience in developing respective strategies.

How does the „City Performance Tool” work and why is CyPT important for functioning of every

growth. In the nutshell, CyPT is a simulation of your investments which gives urban decision makers option to virtually select bespoke technologies that offer their own cities maximum environmental and economic benefits. You are setting a frame for future years - you would like safe, clean, comfortable, with decreased pollution city - you put your investments inside, you put your credentials… the tool is there, and you can see if your investments into the infrastructure will get you where you want to be. It shows you how to best protect your investment. We have strengthen partnerships with the City of Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad by signing the Memorandum of understanding on business and technical cooperation between this cities and Siemens, where we agreed on cooperation with a goal to help these cities to evolve, and offer them strategies and tools which will ensure that they will become social, cultural and economic hubs.This tool is just a

ADEQUATE SOLUTIONS We are here to provide to our customers adequate solutions that will help them use all advantages it brings.

from the stars. Digitalization is at any CEOs agenda and will be driven by top managers in respective industries. And Siemens has to offer solutions based on digitalization in many business segments - we are here to provide to our customers adequate solutions that will help them use all advantages it brings. We are currently driving many strategic projects with clients in Serbia. But here is no solution out of the shelf in 4.0. You have to understand the clients business in order to digitalize his processes. We are going deep into the processes and suggest certain improvements and digitalization of processes, which as a result has improvements of their competitive position on the market. The industry 4.0 is more impressive in advancing than anything before. It is an engagement never seen before, it is really groundbreaking.

How much did Siemens advanced in adopting Industry 4.0 postulates and what does it mean for its local partners?

modern city? — This is specific topic in respect to our strategic initiatives in Serbia and on the global level. We are supporting cities in getting sustainable, and increasing the quality of life. Knowing that cities are a backbone for economic growth and prosperity of each country, Siemens has developed an interactive and comprehensive tool – the City Performance Tool (CyPT). It gives guidance to a city on how to achieve their environmental targets while providing an indication on how each infrastructure-related decision will influence job creation and the infrastructure sector

great solution to make informed decisions at the city level.

Where do you see the possible usage of your latest technology solution here in Serbia? — In our wind generator factory, we are really producing state of the art wind turbines for a lot of companies on a global level, and I see a lot of improvement potential of getting out turbines into the Serbian market. Then, the whole digitalization of the society and production technology will lead to change in doing business. Digitalization will disrupt many Industries and it’s not just falling

— Industrie 4.0. meas that we have the extensive networking of humans and machines and the resulting (and truly new) implicit and explicit actions and reactions that are leading to a change of paradigm. Siemens’ answer to the Industrie 4.0 requirements is “Digital Enterprise Software Suite”, which offers the basic software framework needed by companies wanting to upgrade their position in the industry. Also, I would like to point out the MindSphere – Siemens Cloud for Industry, which makes that the Internet of Things becomes a reality. We are providing the first cloud infrastructure that will allow our customers to offer services using worldwide data collated from their applications. All of this shows that we are placing great emphasis on supplying our customers with the tools they require to realign themselves towards digitalization and the Internet economy. We want to offer solutions that will lead them trough the digital revolution, which is definitely unstoppable. There are five postulates that represent the core of the 4.0 Industry policy and for Siemens these are - reducing time-tomarket, enhancing flexibility, increasing quality, increasing efficiency and increasing security.





JELENA KNEŽEVIĆ Managing Director

LeitnerLeitner is one of the most influential tax consulting and auditing companies in Central and Eastern Europe which is getting more and more recognized in Serbia due to professionalism and high quality of services provided to the clients


recognized the significance of CEE countries early on and can therefore offer our clients the best course of action. Tax optimization, tax planning and successfully business strategy that are tailored to each client’s needs – that’s we aim to achieve for our clients by offering the comprehensive advice”

LATEST AMENDMENTS TO VAT ACT Place of supply of services For the purpose of aligning with the legislation of the European Union, the general rule with respect to the place of supply of services has been amended, and will depend on whether the service has been provided to a person who is or is not a taxpayer. The latest amendments to the VAT Act (December 2016) introduce the new rule stating that services are deemed to be supplied at the place where the service recipient has established his business for B2B services. This provision has fundamentally changed the rule for determining place of supply in the Serbian VAT system. Also, the VAT Act now defines the term of taxpayer solely for the purpose of applying the rules on place of supply of services. Article 12 prescribes who will be regarded as the recipient of services, depending on whether the ser-vice provider is a taxpayer or not. If the service provider is a VAT payer, the taxpayer – recipient of





services is deemed to be: • Any person who performs his activity continuously, regardless of the purpose of that activity; • Legal entities, state bodies, local government bodies, established in the Republic of Serbia; • Foreign legal entities, state bodies, local government bodies, registered for the payment of consumption tax in a foreign country. When the service provider is a foreign person who is not registered for VAT in the Republic of Serbia, the taxpayer – recipient of the service is deemed to be: • Any person who performs his activity continuously, regardless of the purpose of that activity; • Legal entities, state bodies, local government bodies. VAT representative Until December 31st 2016, foreign person was obliged to appoint VAT representative for performing supplies of goods or services on Serbian territory, except services provided electronically and passenger transport services. Amendments to Article 10a of the VAT Act specify that a foreign person who makes taxable supplies in Serbia will be obliged to appoint a fiscal representative and register for VAT, regardless of the value of taxable supplies in the last 12-month period. There are now exceptions for registration of foreign persons who make taxable supplies to: • VAT payers – application of re-

APPLYING THE RULES The VAT Act now defines the term of taxpayer solely for the purpose of applying the rules on place of supply of services.

verse-charge mechanism in this situation, • persons referred to in Article 9(1) of the VAT Act (the Republic of Serbia, its authorities and legal persons established by the Republic of Serbia) – reverse-charge mechanism will also be applicable in this case, • in case of supply of passenger transport services by buses, for which VAT base will be computed as the average fee for an individual transport. Consequently, the amendments applicable as of January 1st 2017, the obligation of foreign person to appoint VAT representative is significantly narrowed and now there are much more cases in which foreign person is not obliged to appoint a VAT. VAT Calculation Additionally, we would like to remind that as of 1st January 2018 taxable persons have to provide more detailed information (e.g. date of occurrence of the tax liability and the conditions for tax exemptions) divided in the different types of transactions (e.g. supply with right to deduct input VAT, purchase of goods and services etc.) to the tax authorities in the form of VAT calculation together with the VAT returns. Initially, the deadline for submission of VAT Calculation with VAT return was set for January 1st 2017, but the Ministry of Finance announced possible changes due to the discussion with the market participants.







President Henkel Serbia, Head HR for Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania

In the following years, both globally and in Serbia, Henkel will focus on driving growth, accelerating digitalization, increasing agility and funding its growth through targeted initiatives


e spoke with Gordana Brašić, President of Henkel Serbia, and Head HR for Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania about the company’s plans in Serbia and worldwide.

Are you satisfied with the Company's business operations in the past year and what goals you have set for 2017? — Despite a challenging market environment, the previous year was successful for Henkel. Due to adjustments, simplification and acceleration of our structures and processes, we were able to adequately respond to changing market conditions. We have also presented our new strategic priorities for 2020 and beyond. Based on our strong foundation and our clear priorities for the coming years, we are committed to the further development of our sustainable business operations here in Serbia and all over the world.

What will Henkel Serbia incorporate into its business objectives




for 2020 which Henkel set at the global level? — The new strategic priorities, which will shape Henkel until 2020 and beyond, provide guidance to all Henkel companies around the world. In the following years, both globally and in Serbia, Henkel will focus on driving growth, accelerating digitalization, increasing agility and funding its growth through targeted initiatives. We will continue to invest in the modernization of production, as well as our employees, providing high quality of our well-known brands. Sustainable business development is very important to us, we are very proud that our production site in Krusevac was certified last year with LEED Gold certificate (Leadership in energy efficiency design), as the first production location in Serbia.

What is your assessment of business conditions in Serbia and where do you see room for improvement of the business climate? — In recent years, we have witnessed participation of foreign companies in the Serbian economy, as the largest

CLEAR PRIORITIES Based on our strong foundation and our clear priorities for the coming years, we are committed to the further development of our sustainable business operations here in Serbia and all over the world.

market in the region whose trade infrastructure is becoming more open and connected to the markets of European Union, Russia and other countries. Ongoing negotiations with EU are very important not only for political stability, but also for the economic and social well-being of the country. We expect the continuation of reforms and harmonization with the European legislation to create better conditions for business and economic development in following years.

What would be your key objectives in the area of corporate social responsibility? — Sustainable and responsible business is one of Henkel’s main values. Maintaining the balance between sustainable growth, social responsibility and good business result is very important to our company. We will continue to improve our production processes and business operations in line with our Sustainability Strategy set until 2030. Henkel has already improved the relation between the value it created and the environmental footprint this generated by 42 percent, compared to the base year 2010. Henkel is ranked on 15th place among the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations” according to the report of Corporate Knights. Additionally, through various socially responsible projects and initiatives of our employees, we will continue to improve the communities in which we operate around the world.



nergy efficiency is a term used frequently today. From an engineering perspective, it is part of basic education, which is used from the very beginning in engineering to express the quality of a process or machine. The altered fact is that the pure focus on technical or economic efficiency has been broadened to also include ecological and social aspects. Efficiency is the largest near-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction opportunity. Globally, the industrial sector is responsible for around a quarter of total energy consumption. Industrial electrical energy consumption in Serbia is up to 30%. Improving energy efficiency in the industrial sector is being prioritised in many countries. Investments to improve industrial energy efficiency can yield major energy savings, improved productivity and reduced environmental pollution. Moreover, significant investments in energy efficiency will reduce the total economic cost of emission pollution follow-up care. Efficiency is also one of the three core targets of the climate and energy package of the European Union – 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of EU energy produced from renewables and 20% improvement in energy efficiency. Serbia is among the European countries with the lowest industrial sector energy efficiency. This applies to all segments: energy generation, conversion, transmission/distribu-




ENERGY EFFICIENCY – A TYPICAL GERMAN PROPERTY “Švaba napravio” translated literally from Serbian means “Swabian made it”. It is used in Serbia to express appreciation for the quality of a German product tion, storage and consumption. In combination with a lignite-orientated generation portfolio, the impact of greenhouse gas pollution is very high. The two main driving factors for improving energy efficiency in industrial enterprises are: a binding legal framework, on the one hand, and energy costs that have a major impact on production costs, on the other. Of course, there are also other factors, such as social responsibility. However, every company needs to consider market conditions. These factors often describe only the start position and thought provoking impulse. Dealing with the subject will fast lead an organisation to strategic issues like the company’s future development in fast-changing markets. As Serbia is in the EU accession process, the aforementioned driving factors are under successive implementation in the Serbian regulatory framework and are currently rather weak. Despite these weak driving factors, we believe there are possibilities to improve energy efficiency in Serbia’s industrial sector. Governments usually initiate such processes from their own buildings to public institutions and enterprises. Unfortunately, activities aimed at making energy savings are particularly slow in Serbia, due to several factors: very low electricity prices (compared to EU countries), poor investment opportunities, lack of awareness etc. Nevertheless, it is obvious that

ENERGY CONSUMPTION Efficiency is the largest near-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction opportunity. Globally, the industrial sector is responsible for around a quarter of total energy consumption. Industrial electrical energy consumption in Serbia is up to 30%

DENIS VUKAŠINOVIĆ Chief Operating Officer (COO) of VPC East d.o.o.

the market framework in Serbia will change, or is currently undergoing changes: • Low energy prices – liberalisation of industrial electricity/energy consumer market (implemented); liberalisation of gas market (to be implemented) • Implementation of European Standards • Implementation of renewables and combined heat and power with feed-in tariffs • Investment in environmental protection technologies in power utilities, which will impact on the cost of energy generation • Shutdown of outdated power plants • Development of energy-related services: ESCO, distributed/embedded generation, virtual PP. • Implementation of cogeneration, as well as tri-generation. Increasing energy efficiency does not necessarily mean implementing an energy management system according to DIN EN 50001. From experiences in Germany, we know that available resources are confined, particularly when it comes to SMEs, which does not allow them to deal sufficiently with additional issues alongside their day-to-day business. Staff members are often completely aware of the technical situation and performance problems, but it is difficult to achieve more than troubleshooting. The first point of discussion for every organisation is always how to

tackle such problems – “make or buy”? The answer has to be provided by the organisation itself. There are good arguments for both directions. However, experience shows that expertise in fields that are not part of the core business are frequently outsourced. IT services are such an example, even in bigger organisations. Local companies that are affiliates of bigger foreign companies are generally smaller companies that have to deal with the unpredictable risks of local/regional markets. In those enterprises that apply energy intensive processes, energy efficiency can be an important tool for energy cost savings and improving competitiveness. These potentials may

ing from the top of the parent company. Local professional support for improving energy efficiency is certainly more cost-effective compared to engaging a foreign technical expert, especially considering the previously noted framework conditions. This is particularly true for comprehensive projects that require the engagement of a larger number of experts in different disciplines. VPC East – Sustainable Engineering & Consulting, as an affiliate of a German parent company, has good experience in using available energy best practises from Germany and combining and adapting that to local needs in Serbia. Our proposal for the German in-

not be visible at present, due to the production cost structure in Serbia. Labour intensive production is often outsourced to Serbia, due to its lower labour costs, thus energy cost saving potential may not be a focal point. However, considering the aforementioned market changes, energy costs will become more important. Bigger international companies have developed Energy Management Systems, but the technical implementation of energy efficiency measures must also consider local specificities and requirements, such as: • Requirements of local/regional energy markets • Requirements of local/regional products (demand, suppliers, cooperation partners etc.) • Regulatory framework. Experienced local energy efficiency experts can often be the better choice than internal experts com-

dustrial community in Serbia is to develop a robust Energy Efficiency Strategy, adapted to the needs of their respective sector – following principles that are good practise in Germany: • Leadership – A commitment to energy efficiency must start at the top. Strong leadership from senior managers – the future of the company. • Energy review – Collecting data and developing sector specific profiles (EPI’s) • Saving potential – General rule: every organisation has energy saving potential. • Supply potential – Saving potential in supply agreements (e.g. electricity purchase) are underestimated in Serbia. • Transparency – Reliable measurement, tracking and reporting systems, enabling management to

GERMAN PRACTICES VPC East – Sustainable Engineering & Consulting, as an affiliate of a German parent company, has good experience in using available energy best practises from Germany and combining and adapting that to local needs in Serbia.

monitor progress and identify potential problems. • Motivation – Establishing clear goals and objectives, then revising them over time as initial targets are met • Communication – Importance of energy efficiency as a core company value to both internal and external stakeholders. • Innovation – An emphasis on energy efficiency can lead to broader innovation and the improvement of processes within a company • Implementation of best practice from various industries: Petroleum, Chemical, Aluminium, Copper, Iron and steel, Cement, Lime, Glass, Brickmaking, Tiles Sanitary ware, Pulp and paper, Textile, Brewery, Food etc. At first glance, Serbia’s market framework shows no potential to increase energy efficiency. However, only deep analysis can reveal if saving potentials can be raised. Good practise from Germany, applying the model of sharing energy savings between a plant operator and service provider (ESCO), is available and applicable with adaptation in Serbia. Alternatively, several German development organisations, e.g. KfW Bank, offer financial support via various cooperation agreements. Serbian companies will have to adapt to changing conditions if they want to succeed in the marketplace. There is also a famous saying in Germany: “Wer zuletzt kommt, den bestraft das Leben”, which can be translated as – “life punishes those who come too late”. Contact us for an initial discussion and first assessment.









TWO STRATEGICALLY CONNECTED ECONOMIES In 2016, Germany regained its status as the biggest foreign trade partner of Serbia, namely the second biggest export market for Serbia and the biggest import partner. At the same time, Germany is one of the five largest foreign investors in Serbia, and the single biggest bilateral donor in our country


Fernsehturm, Berlin

ermany is one of the leading partners of Serbia in all economic segments. In the period between 2010 abd 2016, the trading between the two countries almost doubled. Serbia's export to Germany went up by 2.3 times, while import grew by 1.7 times. Since 2012, the value of Serbia's export has been constantly over a billion EUR and has been growing. In 2016, Serbia recorded a growth in trading with Germany which amounted to almost 4 billion EUR (3.98 billion EUR to be more precise) which is a 12.7% growth relative to 2015. At the same time, the share that Germany has in Serbia's overall foreign trade is 13%. Last year, Serbia's export to Germany went up by 16.4% to amount to 1.75 billion EUR, while export to import ratio reached a record 78.3%. The share that Germany had in Serbia's overall export stood at 13%. In the same period, Serbia's import from Germany grew by 10% and amounted to 2.23 billion EUR which is a 12.9%

share in Serbia's total imports. The abovementioned results are mostly due to investments made by German companies in Serbia. Currently, there are 350 German companies operating in Serbia which have a total of almost 37,000 workers. German companies are present in all vital segments of the Serbian economy. According to the data collated by the National Bank of Serbia (NBS), in line with the methodology that was applied in 2013, the total net investments by German residents, in the period from 2005 to 2013, stood at 1.23 billion EUR which puts German in the fourth place on the list of the countries with the biggest non-resident investments in Serbia in the said period. From January 2014 to March 2016, Germany made 128.1 million EUR worth of investments. Most of them were made in the production sector, namely in the automobile, electronics, food and pharmaceutical industry. In the past period, the structure of Serbia's export to Germany has im-




proved in favour of the highly processed products. Almost 54% of our exports are machines and transportation devices which have recorded a growth of 28.4%. Export-orientated German investors operating in Serbia have significantly contributed to this upwards trend because they mainly invested in the Serbian production sector. Still, it is worth mentioning that we are talking about the production that is labour intensive with very small added value. In 2016, Serbia mostly exported the following products to Germany: generators, machine parts, ignition wiring sets, frozen raspberries, engines, electric resistors, dialysis equipment, parts and accessories for motor vehicles, drugs, new diesel cars, soya beans, tights, refrigerator-freezers , aluminum products and washing and cleaning liquids and powders. Serbia mostly imported the following products in the same year old and new diesel cars, engines and generators, medicines, aluminum products, parts and accessories for motor vehicles, refined copper wire, trucks with semi-trailers, parts for seats, semi-trailers and trailers, aluminium film, monofilaments, connections and contact elements for wires and cables, and plastic products. The following products dominate the structure of Serbia's export to Germany – industrial products (88.9% of the total export, 1.55 billion EUR), while food and agricultural products account for 11.1% of the Serbian export to Germany (195.1 million EUR). When it comes to this segment, Serbia has been recording a surplus in trading with Germany for many years




now. This trend continued in 2016 too when Serbia exported 195.1 million EUR worth of agricultural and food products, and imported 79.8 million EUR worth of them with a record surplus of 115.3 million EUR on Serbia's side. The most important agricultural produce that Serbia exports to Germany is definitely frozen raspberry. In 2016, Serbia exported 75.5 million EUR worth of raspberries to Germany which is 4.3% of the country's total export Germany. 38.7% of Serbia's agricultural exports end up in Germany. Industrial products make most of the Serbian import from Germany – 96.4% to be precise (3.6% of Serbian imports from Germany are agricultural and food products). In 2016, the biggest exporters to Germany were German companies that operate in Serbia - Siemens, Robert Bosch, Leoni, IGB Automotive Comp and Fresenius Medical Care, while the


biggest importers were Siemens, Robert Bosch, Ball Packaging Europe, Grammer System and Star Import. If we look at the individual German states, and the official German statistics collated by DESTATIS in 2016, Serbia recorded the biggest trading volume, including the biggest export and surplus, with Bavaria. Four German states – Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse – have the biggest share in Serbian exports to Germany which stood at 75%. The trading with these four states also accounts for 60% of the total trade with Germany. Serbia has been recording surplus in trading in services too. In the first eleven months of 2016, Serbia generated 420 million EUR from exporting services to Germany, while importing 243 million EUR worth of services from Germany which puts this country in the first place among the countries that Serbia has been generating the biggest income from exporting its services. Germany occupies the third place among the countries that Serbia has recorded suprlus in trading in services too – 177 million EUR worth – right after Great Britain and the United States. In 2015, Serbia generated 416 million EUR from exporting services to Germany, and imported 224 million EUR worth of services from Germany. More and more German tourists are visiting Serbia. In 2016, 63,935 tourist from Germany came to Serbia (a 5% growth relative to 2015). They had 128,897 overnight stays which is a 5.1% growth compared to 2015. In 2015, 60,886 German tourists visited our country (a 2.7% growth), and they had 122,590 overnight stays (a 16.7% increase).

In Serbia PHOENIX group is offering wide portfolio of pharmacy services along the whole chain of pharmaceutical business from manufacturer to the patient since 2009. It recently opened the new HUB Belgrade which will further serve the needs of its partners



he PHOENIX group from Mannheim is a leading pharmaceutical trader in Europe. Active in 26 countries, the company offers unique geographical coverage throughout Europe, making a vital contribution to comprehensive healthcare with around 34,000 employees. The PHOENIX group’s vision is to be the best integrated healthcare provider – wherever it is active. The group already operates over 2,000 of its own pharmacies in 13 European countries, thereby having profound knowledge of the pharmacy business. The approximately 17,000 pharmacy employees have more than 120 million customer contacts each year. They dispense more than 260 million drug packages to patients and advise them on issues concerning pharmaceuticals and general health. The PHOENIX group considers itself to be a link between manufacturer and patient. Pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies, doc-

tors, hospitals, health insurance funds, and patients across Europe can benefit from our service offering. The group is active with 153 distribution centres in 26 countries and supplies pharmacies and medical institutions with drugs and other health products. Numerous other products and services for pharmacy customers complete the portfolio – from support with patient advice to modern goods management systems to pharmacy cooperation programmes. PHOENIX provides services across the whole supply chain for the pharmaceutical industry.

NEW REGIONAL HUB IN BELGRADE In Serbia PHOENIX group is offering wide portfolio of pharmacy services along the whole chain of pharmaceutical business from manufacturer to the patient since 2009. More than a year ago, PHOENIX group opened its first logistic hub in Prague, Czech Republic, being part

UNIQUE SOLUTIONS We are sure that our partners will recognize the benefits of unique solutions offered by the concept of ‘’all-inone’’ where the HUB Belgrade represents an important link in the logistics chain thus reducing costs and optimising stock levels.



of our new cross-boarder Healthcare Logistics solution for Central and Eastern Europe: CEE Bridge”. With Warsaw opened in 2016 and Belgrade in 2017, all three hubs are up and running. The new Belgrade hub is situated around 30 km from the city centre in the industrial zone, near the airport and main roads leading to Budapest, Sofia, Skopje and Zagreb. As the part of the CEE Bridge project and the new concept of operations “Regional distribution service model – HUB network solution”, the new hub in Belgrade will create new levels of business with our industry partners. The new hub in Belgrade gives PHOENIX in Serbia the opportunity to plan the specification of user requirements to comply all Good Distribution Practice (GDP) entails. The requirements of integrated management system are fulfilled there and so are the principles of environmental protection, safety and health at work and other regulatory and institutional requirements. This high bay warehouse is a modern, 6-palletlevel warehouse with a capacity of more than 11,000 pallets. With the opening of the hub in Belgrade, PHOENIX is able to reduce the complexity of international logistics processes significantly which leads to reduced costs by optimising the stock levels. The CEE Bridge networks ensures access to regional connected markets in the entire region.





ZORAN ĐURIĆ Director General of Miele Serbia

MIELE – SYNONYM FOR GERMAN QUALITY IN SERBIA Technology is fast, and sometimes even faster than companies and business, so maintaining continuity and being successful long enough for a brand to become synonymous with quality is almost mission impossible


till, German company Miele seems to have succeeded at this. This family-run company that produces household appliances was founded by Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann in 1899. Today, both the production in Miele and the brand itself are faster, more contemporary and of better quality than ever before. We are talking to Director General of Miele Serbia, Zoran Đurić about market trends and development of the Miele brand.

The household appliance market is becoming increasingly overcrowded, and it seems that consumers have more choice than ever before. What are the main consumer expectations when it comes to household appliances, and how did Miele succeed in maintaining its market position for such a long time? — The fact remains that the number of manufacturers of household appliances has been growing, and that product ranges are becoming increasingly wider. Furthermore, companies are relocating their production in order to save money which is something that we decided against. Miele is the only manufacturer in this industry to test its products like washing ma-



chines, driers, dishwashing machines and ovens to the equivalent of 20 years of average usage, and to produce all of its products in its factories in Germany. Our consumers are very well aware of this, and have been our trusted buyers for years now because they know that they are getting a topnotch product especially in terms of reliability and durability.

The Immer Besser („Forever Better“) motto has been engraved into the very first appliances produced by Miele, and now this is the slogan of your worldwide operations. What does „Immer Besser“ mean to you? — The slogan, that our founders came up with and is designed to reflect the quality of the Miele Company means forever better and it applies to the quality of the products manufactured by Miele's factories. We are always expected to do the best we can, and Immer Besser is our promise to our consumers that Miele will continue to develop appliances that would perfectly fit their lifestyle. For me personally and for all of my colleagues in Serbia, this slogan prompts us to do more and to improve our business on a daily basis. Hence, every new consumer is a new incentive for us to present Miele

in the best possible light, and to provide quality that is unique to both the European and global market.

What are Miele's plans, locally and globally?

FOREVER BETTER The slogan, that our founders came up with means better forever and it applies to the quality of the products manufactured by Miele's factories.

— In addition to Miele's first showroom in Belgrade, in 64a, Zoran Đinđić Boulevard, we have opened another showroom, in 2, Balkanska Street. In these showrooms, our consumers can test all of our appliances to see for themselves the performances and the quality of Miele products. Also, we are coming up to a period of rapidly developing our distribution and service network with the view of offering the best possible post-sale services to our consumers. In terms of our global operations, the past period brought many innovations and growth for Miele, so, for instance, this year we plan to sell at least 900,000 washing machines which is the reason why Miele has opened another washing machine production facility. On the other hand, our professional programmes are progressing at the same, fast pace, as does the production of home devices. With each new model, these devices are becoming more advanced, and, with additional programmes, they are even more cost-saving and modern.

In addition to many other awards, Miele is a multiple recipient of the Most trusted brand in Germany, voted by consumers, or rather the readers of Reader's Digest. Miele is also the recipient of several Superbrands awards, as well as award for the best customer service, given by Kundenmonitor Deutschland. GERMANY 2017



Žikica Milošević





Germany, a conservative and down-to-earth nation at the very heart of Europe, has a similarly conservative, down-to-earth economy, one that suits the spirit of the nation. Conservative? Well, perhaps in the modern sense of that word


rientated towards quality, manufacturing and SMEs, avoiding the dislocating of factories and the swallowing of small enterprises by giants, Germany was dubbed “old-fashioned” in the 1990s by Tony Blair’s New Labour, “The Third Way Left”, modern globalist and the like. They were a laughing stock. Well, Tony, who’s laughing now?

SAY NO! When the 1990s came, something strange happened in the Western World. All of a sudden developed economies started to relocate their most valuable factories around the globe. Some chose Eastern Europe,

some Mexico, some China. All of a sudden, countries like the UK or Belgium were left without the majority of their factories – just like in the U.S., following the signing of the NAFTA agreement. They were all “clever”: with costs reduced, let’s buy all the small brands and factories and unify them, or simple change them, or close them down. Nikšić Beer produced in Serbia? Anyone who knows anything about the typical taste of Nikšić beer knew it was different – good, but different. Tony Blair blew the fanfare and declared “it is a new economy!”, but we saw how it ended. First, the 2008 world economic crisis hit economies orientated towards services harder than those orientat-


ed towards manufacturing. Then the disenfranchised masses, angry over the dislocating of their jobs, voted for Brexit. Then Trump. Syriza came somewhat prior to that. And Germany, as old-fashioned as they called it, was still afloat amidst the storm. That was because Germans had preserved the good quality of their goods, which were still manufactured in Germany, and not in China or Hungary. Not to say anything about goods from China or Hungary. Simply, what was known as being the best, as being German, remained German. Poland soon followed suit and is now one of Europe’s most resilient economies. The German economic miracle is not a miracle at all. It is just a matter of “keeping things as they are, since a winning team should not be changed”. Just like Joachim Löw.

FACTS AND FIGURES And the facts confirm the following: Germany is the largest national economy in Europe and the world’s fourth-largest by nominal GDP and




fifth largest by GDP (PPP). Germany’s economic model is based on the social market economy concept. The country has taken care of its working classes since the times of the German Empire and Bismarck. As Richard Branson noted, “Customers don’t come first. Employees come first. If they are satisfied, they take care of the customers.” And they are loyal to their companies, I would add. The same applies: if a country takes care of its citizens, they will take care of their productivity and jobs, and their companies, remaining loyal to both their companies and the country as a whole. Germany has done that. It is a country of export surplus. Namely, in 2016 “Germany recorded the highest trade surplus in the world, worth $310 billion, making it the biggest capital exporter globally”. Not America, not China, but Germany. Well,

put your trust in. The country’s top 10 export commodities are vehicles, machinery, chemical goods, electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, transport equipment, basic metals, food products, and rubber and plastics. German vehicles? I doubt anyone has any real dilemma believing in their reliability.

a year ago we discussed what the brand “Made in Germany” means. It means exactly that: trust and quality. Germany is the world’s third largest exporter, with 1.21 trillion euros in goods and services exported in 2016. And it is not as though Germans deeply dislike services and prefer to work hard in their factories. On the contrary, the service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1%, and agriculture 0.9%, while exports account for 41% of national output. However, Germans are the leaders of producing in anything that you should

transition to renewable energy, a process dubbed Energiewende. Germany is the world’s leading producer of wind turbines. Renewables now produce over 27% of electricity consumed in Germany… And that is only set to increase.




MAKE IT GREEN If you know Germany deeply and intimately, you know that in Germany you cannot establish a bus route between two cities or villages if there is an existing railway. This is both part of the protection of a state-owned enterprise that everyone likes and keeping the country green. Free enterprise? Not here! State railways come first. And renewables come first too. Germany is the first major industrialised nation to commit to the

MAKE IT FAMILY ORIENTATED An economy can be easily determined, in my experience, according to two factors: how many state-owned railways and trams it has, and how many small and medium-sized enter-


prises (SMEs) it has. If an economy has a lot of rail tracks and a lot of SMEs, it is developed. If every town has its newspaper and brewery, it means the economy is stable. If citizens must use vans, cars etc. for transport, and if all the companies are giants and small businesses vanish, it means the economy is far from stable. Well, it might be that I am “just a European”, as they called me in Brazil, or “just another socialist” (I was called that in the same place), but I tend to like an organised state that takes care of you and takes care of its small firms. And, guess what? Some 99 per cent of all German companies belong to the German category of “Mittelstand”, meaning small and medium-sized enterprises, which are mostly family-owned. However, they don’t lack big players either. Of the world’s 2,000 largest publicly listed companies measured by revenue, the Fortune Global 2000, 53 are headquartered in Germany, the top ten of which are Volkswagen, Allianz, Daimler, BMW, Siemens, BASF, Munich Re, E.ON, Bayer, and RWE. I guess anyone can name eight out of ten of these company names in their sleep.

EPILOGUE Remember Joachim Löw? Yes, the German national football coach. He has a string of successes – some bigger, some smaller. But he is stable in being in the top three every time. Winning tactics should not be changed. Germany persisted with its own opinion, and did so well. Don’t be too modern... Just be smart.







ear-on-year, the cooperation between Serbia and Germany has been progressing in several segments, as well as in politics and economy. Currently there are 350 German companies operating in Serbia in almost all economic sectors. These companies have over 30,000 employees in Serbia, and have been regularly contributing to modernization, and implementing European norms and international standards. The German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Serbia), as an economic bridge between Serbia and Germany, was founded on 14th April, 2016. Many top officials attended the ceremony in honour of the Chamber's foundation including Serbian Economy Minister, Zeljko Sertic, German Ambassador H.E. Mr. Axel Dittmann, head of the International Markets Sector at AHK, Julia Arnold, President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Marko

AHK Christmas party




Cadez, and many others who agreed that establishing a joint chamber of commerce signalled to the German business community that Serbia was a realiable business partner. Apart from servicing companies, the Chamber's other tasks and activities are geared towards promoting foreign trade and are closely tied to wider goals like the EU integration and supporting economic and social transformation, boosting connections between the economies of the two countries and promoting stability and transparency. AHK Serbia represents the interests of its members, offers information support to their operations, and advocates development and advancement of the German-Serbian trade and cooperation in all economic aspects. One of the Chamber's tasks, and one of the tasks of its service company DE International d.o.o., is supporting German companies when entering the Serbian market, reasearching the Serbian

The Balkan countries, whether we are talking about EU members or countries on the pro-European course, have been traditionally linked to Germany via economic activities


market, establishing business contacts, and supporting Serbian companies when breaking into the German market. The Chamber also helps Serbian companies to present themselves at the biggest German fairs and provides numerous advisory services. In terms of membership, the Chamber focuses on establishing and nurturing business connections between its members, mediation in establishing business contacts, creating opportunites for boosting existing contacts and promoting cooperation between interested economic segments, companies and institutions, on top of providing other formats of support to its members. The German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce regularly organizes events, both formal and informal, with the aim of creating opportunities for its members to get to know each other, exchange experiences and attend informative workshops where they can discuss new topics and current issues. Furthermore, the Chamber organizes business delegation visits, implements projects of national importance, and launches various export initiatives. AHK Serbia organizes over 40 events annually, including Members Dinner, Speed Business Meetings, conferences, numerous seminars and work shops, task force meetings, the popular AHK Oktober-

fest, football tournaments for employees of the member companies and many other. The Chamber also organizes the only multi-conference in Serbia called „Serbian Visions“ which is a unique civil society event in this part of the region.

AHK MEMBERS DINNER This is a rather popular event at which members of AHK Serbia meet and can get information from the leading figures of the Serbian and German economic and political scenes, as well as attend a cocktail party where they can get to know each other better and exchange experiences.

SPEED BUSINESS MEETING This is an interesting event that AHK Serbia organizes for its members in collaboration with other chambers of commerce and business associations in Serbia. Through the unique concept of B2B meeetings, AHK members can meet the representatives of companies that are members of various business organizations, establish and boost business connections, and initiate potential cooperation.

Speed Business Meeting

WORKING GROUP For several years now, the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce has been hosting the meetings of working group for HR managers in companies that are members of AHK Serbia. The positive experiences gained at these meetings led to establishment of other task forces in 2016, covering the segments like energy efficiency, communications, and public relations. The

Seminar & Workshop


AHK Summer Party




Chamber also plans establishing a dual education working group. At working group meetings, members can discuss topics of joint interest. The meetings have 35 participants on average with experts from the relevant areas often giving lectures at these meetings.

WORKSHOPS & SEMINARS In cooperation with its members, AHK Serbia organizes numerous seminars and workshops covering trending topics. The additional education and information acquired at these events help employees of the Chamber's member companies to advance their existing knowledge, find out about the novelties in their business segments and thus improve the operations of the companies they work for.

SERBIAN VISIONS The Serbian Visions multi-conference assembles 60 non-governmental and other organizations, associations, institutions and professional organizations that are working towards better future for the citizens of Serbia and the country itself, along with their supporters and friends. During the second multi-conference, which took place on 26th and 27th November 2016, the participants were able to see presentations, panel discussions, lectures and film screenings in all conference halls at the Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel in Belgrade. Over 3,000 people were given a choice to visit one of the events that covered a wide array of topics – from human rights and EU integration to current economic issues. „Our belief is that civil society in Serbia is getting better organized by the day and this has been fully validated during this year's multi-conference. There are dedicated people in all segments, who have chosen to become activists and are not getting paid for it. In Serbia, there is a great knowledge and understanding of how things are which needs to be further increased in order to create European future for Serbia“, said director of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Martin Knapp at the closing of the 2nd multi-conference Serbian Visions.

SERBIAN VISIONS • 60 two-hour events over just one weekend • 60 participants, co-organizers of their own events: NGOs, professional associations, institutes, institutions, companies, associations, universities... • 60 different presentation formats: discussions. Forums, presentations, workshops, seminars, film screenings and many other • 60 interesting topics covering areas like human rights, economy, education, culture, health, environmental protection, EU integration and other • 60 and more reasons to attend the only multi-conference in Serbia as a citizen.

Chamber of Commerce, took place on the premises of the Belgrade Fair, on 14th and 15th October, 2016, with the help of partners from the STIHL Company and many sponsors which are the members of AHK Serbia. In the original, Bavarian atmosphere, while enjoying in drinking German Erdinger beer, eating delicious Bavarian meals, watching beer mug holding and beer drinking competitions, while being entertained by the most popular Serbian trumpet orchestra – Dejan Petrovic's Big Band, the members of AHK Serbia, their partners, many guests from the corporate world and public figures in Serbia, thoroughly enjoyed themselves during this two-day event. AHK Oktoberfest also had a humanitarian side to it. The festival's visitors raised money for the SOS Decije Selo in Kraljevo, as a donation towards firewood to keep this children village warm during winter.

BUSINESS WOMEN LUNCH In collaboration with European chambers of commerce and professional associations in Serbia, AHK Serbia hosts a working lunch for ladies that work at companies that are AHK members at which they have an opportunity to meet each other and find out new things from interesting guests.

AHK FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT We foster a sporting spirit! The football tournament for members of AHK Serbia is an excellent opportunity for team building, for players and supporters to spend time together, and for teams to compete among each other.


Networking accompanied by the rhythm of the summer – members, associates and friends of AHK Serbia gather at the summer party to socialize in a relaxed atmosphere, before the short summer recess.

CHRISTMAS PARTY Members, associates and friends of AHK Serbia traditionally come together at AHK Serbia's Christmas party to sum up their impressions from that year and round off their business year. At the informal Christmas party, guests mingle in an elegant ambiance, enjoying in spirit of the holiday season.

AHK WELCOME The AHK Welcome Breakfast is for all newly admitted members of the Chamber. Deputy director of AHK Serbia, Doris Danilovic presented the guests with the work and services provided by the Chambers, as well as activities and events that the Chamber organizes, benefits for members, promotion formats and support for their business. After the presentation, the new members can get better acquainted with each other and the Chamber at the informal breakfast.

BUYERS INITIATIVES The „German Buyers Initiative for the Western Balkan Countries 2016“ project is a result of the joint effort of the West European and Western Balkan countries after the Western Balkan Conference in Berlin, in August 2014. The initiative was launched with the goal to choose companies from Serbia and other Western Balkan

AHK OKTOBERFEST Members of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce don't have to travel to Munich to enjoy in the atmosphere of the biggest German national festival. The 7th Oktoberfest, and the first Oktoberfest organized by the newly established German-Serbian




AHK Football Tournament


JOVAN STOJANOVIĆ Director of InJob International

TRUSTED RECRUITERS Our goal is for InJob International is to be the first choice whenever a company needs workers


n Job international helps client to find a job in Germany. We spoke with the director Jovan Stojanovic about the process.

Could you describe your agency in a few short sentences for us? — Our agency was founded in response to the need that was created following the intergovernmental treaty concluded between Serbia and Germany several years ago. Our staff possesses the licenses issued by the line ministry and the National Employment Office, while the agency’s associates in Germany are also licensed in accordance with the German laws which are all a guarantee of quality and competence in providing services. Considering there is a need to provide comprehensive quality services, the agency also runs a German language school.

Could you tell us more about this school? — Once we recognized that not knowing German language was the

main obstacle to finding a job in Germany, opening such school was the next logical step. We are also providing scholarships for learning German and working in Germany, without any financial cost.

carrying out nostrification of their diplomas. On the other hand, clients have to adhere to German regulation in terms of labour rights, as well as be mindful, together with us, about how well the candidate is adapting, their accommodation and the activities on diploma nostrification.

How involved is your agency in other activities in this (recruitment) segment? — Since we want this segment to be better systemically regulated, we have initiated establishment of a relevant association under the umbrella of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. Through this mechanism we want to influence the conditions that we operate in. We are also very involved in the process of drafting the law that will be important for this segment with the view of having a system that is better regulated.

What is so unique about your operations? — I believe that we are different to others because it is our goal to establish long-term cooperation. The candidates have to have a special level of expertise and experience, a suitable psychological profile, and be goal-orientated which basically means getting a job in Germany and

SOLUTION FOR VISAS It would be good if the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and German Chamber of Commerce in Serbia, along with the line ministry and relevant German bodies, came together to find a solution for faster issuing on visas.

What kind of problems have you come up against in your work? What kind of problems would you like to mention? — I would like to single out a problem with obtaining a visa at the consulate office. I am referring to the length of the time needed to be given an appointment date for visa. In my opinion, waiting two or even three months for the appointment date is unjustifiably long, and is not in the best interest of clients in Germany or candidates who already have a working permit at that point. Anyhow, I think that it is only reasonable that agency, like ours, should be given a special treatment at the Consulate because that would simplify and facilitate the entire process.

What else would you like to mention that you consider important? — We believe that business success is a consequence, not a goal. Our aim is to satisfy the needs of our clients and candidates. Our goal is for InJob International to be the first choice whenever a company needs workers. Our goal is also for our candidates to get in touch with us once they get a job, expressing their gratefulness. This is already happening. All of this makes us confident that we are going to remain leaders in this segment. Injob International




countries via B2B meetings to get together with German companies interested in establishing business contacts with producers from this region. The project is implemented by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Serbia), regional chambers of commerce in Germany (AHK) and the German Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics Association (BME e.V.). Two of such meetings have taken place in Germany so far, and both have been extremely successful. The first happened in Munich in 2016, and the second in Dortmund in 2016. The both events proved that Serbia definitely has a lot to offer to German companies. Around 500 meetings between German and Western Balkan companies took place at the first event in

Business Women Lunch

Conference ”Energy efficiency in buildings with regard to the use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling”

Serbian Visions




Munich, with a total of 260 participants – 96 of them were representatives of the companies from the Western Balkan region, 23 companies were from Germany, and there were also state officials from both Germany and Western Balkans. Twenty eight representatives of the companies from Serbia had very successful business meetings with German importers of industrial segments like machine building, metal processing, car parts production and plastics and rubber processing. There was a record number of participants at the event in Dortmund in June 2016 while over 45 German companies established new business contacts with 125 of the chosen suppliers from the Western Balkan region. Among them were 43 Serbian companies. This year, the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Serbia), the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Industry and Commerce Chamber from the city of Dortmund, and the German Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics Association (BME e.V.) will host the “Buyers Initiative of German Companies from the North Rhine-Westphalia State“ on 30th March, 2017, with the support of the Enterprise Europe Network and NRW International GmbH. This one-day event will take place in the Serbian Chamber of Commerce with the aim of having the selected Serbian companies meet up with the German companies from the North Rhine-Westphalia State that have expressed interest in establishing contacts with producers from Serbia. Serbian business people will be given an opportunity to present

their businesses to the German companies, establish new contacts and expand their business to the German market. This year, the German business delegation is comprised of companies from the metal and plastic processing sectors.

EXPORT INITIATIVE PROJECTS Under the umbrella of the export initiative projects covering the area of renewable energy resources, AHK Serbia is organizing many business trips and conferences. Last year, five German companies took a business trip focusing on biomass and biogas in Serbia where they presented their services, products and the know-how to Serbian companies and shared their experience. A conference in Belgrade was held on 5th April, 2016 on the back of this trip. The issue of energy efficiency occupies a special place in AHK Serbia's programme. With the framework of the energy efficiency initiative launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, AHK Serbia organized a business trip and the visit to the business conference titled „Energy efficiency in construction with reference to using geo-thermal energy for heating and cooling“ in May 2016. Seven German companies participated in the trip and the conference during which they presented their innovative products and had many B2B meetings with Serbian companies. Around 150 representatives of Serbian companies also attended the conference. They showed a great interest in energy efficiency in wood processing industry. Ten German companies participated in the

AHK Summer Party

Axel Dittmann, Ronald Seeliger, Martin Knapp


Dejan Petrovic Big Band at AHK Oktoberfest




conference titled „Machines and Equipment for wood and wood processing industry in Serbia“, which took place on 8th November, 2016. At the conference, they presented their new technologies and managed to initiate potential cooperation with Serbian companies participating in the conference.


SES – Senior Expert Service – Adjust to the demands of modern day market and improve your business with minimum funds Senior Expert Service (SES) is a non-profit organization subsidized by the German government. Its main activity is based on consultancy mediation in various economic and non-economic activities around the world. The SES consultants are active German pensioners, experts with wealth of experience, who possess great enthusiasm and work ethic. They offer their consultancy services pro bono with the goal of helping to improve the work flow in SMEs, public institutions, associations, and educational institutions in Serbia and the rest of the world. The SES has 12,000 experts on its records, covering all industrial branches. The costs of hiring an SES consultant in terms of local accommodation, local transport costs and living costs are born by the company that has hired a consultant, while all costs (like return plane ticket and health insurance) are borne by the SES. The SES programme in Serbia has been implemented by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce since 2005. By the end of 2016, over 200 consultants worked in mostly SMEs and some public institutions and organizations in Serbia. German fairs German fairs have always played an important role in the economic cooperation between Serbia and Germany because they represent one of the most important tools of international commerce, and a place where contacts are established and fostered and experiences exchanged. AHK Serbia has helped Serbian companies to present their businesses at the biggest German fairs by providing various advisory services as an official representative of the fairs in Munich, Cologne and Nuremberg (The Toy Fair). This support starts with providing detailed information about the fairs, registration and booking of fair stands, and design and construction of stands to logistics, custom clearance and the trip itself.





The service also includes organizing B2B meetings with potential business partners at the fair. Cologne fair – The Cologne Fair is a reputable organizer of fairs worldwide, of over 75 fairs in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The Fair premises span an incredible 248,000 square metres of the indoor area and 100,000 square metres of the outdoor area, with 11 halls in total, which makes this fair the fifth biggest fair in the world, surface-wise. With over 40 different fairs covering investment segment, consumer goods and new technology, the Munich Fair is one of the five leading fair organizing companies in the world. The fair has 17 halls spanning a total of 180,000 square metres. Apart from the halls, there is also an outdoor area which covers around 360,000 square metres. Every year, over 30,000 exhibitors from more

than 100 countries exhibit at the fair. The fair also has 2 million visitors from around 200 countries annually. The areas that the fair covers are construction, environmental technology, beverage technology, transport and logistics, ceramic industry, automatization and robotics, industrial maintenance, business real estate, sports items and sports fashion, watches and jewelry, tourism, electronics, IT and media, analytics, life sciences and arts and crafts. The Toy Fair in Nuremberg is the biggest global exhibition of toys and entertainment products. Considering the sheer number of producers and retailers which participate in the fair, as well as a wide array of information and the know-how available there, make this fair the most important communication, supplier and information platform in this segment.

Serbian Visions - Dual vocation panel

Constituent Assembly AHK Serbia



NO CHILD SHOULD GROW UP ALONE Too many children in the world are alone. Some children are abandoned by one or both parents, some are rejected by their communities



f a child’s needs and rights are not being fulfilled it means they are alone. This is not just about small children. Being alone is tough for young people, too, who are preparing themselves for adulthood. Every child and young person needs a caring family environment and a supportive community to look out for their best interests and help them develop to their full potential. Helping to ensure that no child has to grow up alone is central to the work of SOS Children’s Villages. We work to prevent family breakdown and care for children who have lost parental care, or who risk losing it. We work with communities, partners and state’s institutions to ensure that the rights of all children are respected and fulfilled. SOS Children’s Villages Serbia is a member of SOS Children’s Villages International, founded 1949, helping around 1.200.000 people around the world. We are present in Serbia since 2004, through different programmes, aimed at providing a loving home for every child.

SOS Children's Villages help families stay together. Our family strengthening programmes are focusing on prevention, building the capacities of socially and economically disadvantaged families, in order to avoid separation of children from the families. Our coworkers, who are qualified social workers, psycologists and pedagogists, support families on a daily basis in accessing social and health services, parenting, school work, and seeking employment. Through this programmes, more than 350 families in Niš, Belgrade and Obrenovac have been supported in development of parental skills, economic empowerment and integration in their local community.

SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE KRALJEVO SOS Children’s Village Kraljevo is a unique concept of care about children without parental care, which provides them the opportunity to grow up in a loving family environment, in SOS foster families. We create families for children in need, care about them until they reach independence, helping them to build their future. In the SOS Children’s Village Kraljevo, children whose parents could not care for them for whichever reason, get a new home with an SOS parent who lives with them full time in a family house. Biological brothers and sisters always stay together in the same SOS family, which is one of the key advantages of our form of care. SOS families are supported by the expert team – psychologist, pedagogist, social worker, teachers and volunteers, who are always at their disposal. Since 2004, we have been taking care about more than 130 children from all over Serbia.

PROVIDING A LOVING HOME We are present in Serbia since 2004, through different programmes, aimed at providing a loving home for every child.

EMPOWERING YOUTH In a recently opened youth empowerment Center “Strong Youngsters“ we provide young people exiting the social care system (state homes for children without parental care, foster families) or coming from disadvantaged background, a possibility to develop their employability and life skills, through trainings, mentorship, providing internships and support in seeking employment.

SUPPORT OUR WORK! Support of partners is crucial for the sustainability of our work. If you would like to contribute to better future for all our children, please find more information on our website and contact us at: Thank you!





IS GERMANY A NEW AMERICA? Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched — Text —

Žikica Milošević

Berlin exibition





ome, ye sinners, poor and wretched, weak and wounded, sick and sore... That is how the popular hymn goes. And it was an informal trademark of the United States of America and, before that, the American colonies. But is America sick and tired of immigration? While Germany, in a twist of fate worth noting, is welcoming everyone. Is Germany a New America? America has New England, and it had New France, New Sweden and New Holland. It had numerous “new” versions of “old” European countries, but to have a European version of the

New Continent, well that is slightly strange, right? But, as The Trumpet says, “as America unwisely abdicates from leadership” in the world (a bit of new isolationism on the horizon), people have started to talk about Germany and its Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as a “Leader of the Free World”.


And, with so many countries turning to so-called “illiberal democracy”, like, arguably, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Turkey, India, and perhaps even America and the ever-closing, brexiting Britain, with elections looming in France and The Netherlands, threatening to undermine the liberal European dream, Germany has become a kind of beacon of the so-called “Free World”. “The Iron Lady of Germany” shows one more characteristic that connects her vision of Germany to the “old” vision of America: the desire for immigrants, who are freely accepted, in spite of the AfD movement and Pegida, not to mention some more radical views. It seems that Germany, traditionally sceptical towards immigration, is now the most open of all countries and the least nationalist and/or xenophobic, while it is also the only country which is (apart from Canada, though Canada is not in Europe) completely open to foreigners of all colours, religions and languages.




So Germany is, as we noted a year ago, in the first issue of InFocus, the embodiment of the European Dream. However, now it is turning into a “New America”, a beacon on the horizon for all liberals, all unhappy and displaced people, all Eastern Europeans who want to find a decent job and have a decent life. And a hundred years ago ships full of these same Europeans were heading to Ellis Island, passing the Statue of Liberty. It is somewhat surprising how Germans and Japanese learned their lessons of nationalism in World War II, while others, especially the victorious nations, perhaps failed to do so. So Germany succeeded and made itself into an example of how a society should be modelled. It was followed by Italy and Spain and, later, by Poland, Hungary and Turkey. He we are talking about infrastructure, about the wellbeing of citizens; about the dream of a calm and secure life. While Americans were preoccupied intervening in other countries, forgetting about their crumbling infrastructure and decaying urban landscapes, while they were removing streetcars and railways, while Detroit suffered from a depression and a deprived economy, and while




the Rust Belt was in pain, Germany did all the opposite. Germans actually rebuilt their society on American-inspired infrastructure building, but... the Old America: the one with streetcars, preserved urban landscapes and old buildings, carefully incorporating the new into the old, not losing the spirit; building railways and preventing cities from experiencing urban decay. Actually, America forgot who it was decades ago, while Germany just took the idea and made it more... precise. And what is more interesting is that Germany has become a hub for modern art and culture. Berlin is the most sophisticated city in the world when it comes to art and music. Maybe decades ago people were heading to London or New York, but for the last ten years my friends have been heading to Berlin and Hamburg. Bands are mushrooming in Berlin; Germany has great gigs and exhibitions. It is a peaceful country that seems to protect the needy and punish the greedy. No wild capitalism is allowed in Germany. Since Bismarck, strong protection for workers has been provided by the state, with state pensions, protection for people living with disabilities, medical care and health

security. Everything that made America great once upon a time, and that has been forgotten since Reagan's neoliberalism, is alive and kicking in Germany. And there is no wonder. America was built on the stern Protestant spirit of hard work and ambition, austerity and modesty. Now it has changed into splendour, consumerism and dreams of easy money. And it is no wonder why it has gradually lost its appeal: the disciplined Germany took its place; the modest Canada took its place. And, funnily enough, America is aspiring to return to building itself and making new infrastructure under a president who is ethnically of German origin. And he represents showbiz, which is such an un-German and immodest property. But perhaps America can make itself great again by borrowing some German features and experiences. Maybe it should get back to its original roots, largely based on the fact that the majority of Americans are in fact from the German national body. Maybe we should all learn from Germany about how to overcome a troubled past; how to look to the future with hard work and modesty,


how to avoid get-rich-quick solutions and supress the desire for splendour; to learn how to be decent, to learn how to leave our cars park when we’re trying to navigate the city and only using them on the motorways; to use more bicycles and trams; and to make ourselves great again… the German way. It doesn't seem too hard. Peter the Great combined the Russian and German spirits, and succeeded. Now the Germans are combining the best from the world with their spirit, and they seem to be succeeding. Welcome to New Germany. It is not a new America, but it is now a leader.

Country Manager at Amrop



COMMITMENT AND AGILITY Amrop is celebrating ten years of successful business in Serbia and announcing ambitious plans in order to better serve rising number of its clients both locally and regionally

uring the last years, AMROP became one of the most recognizable names in the Executive Search industry in Adriatic region.

portant when selecting your executive search partner. Year, 2017 is of an enormous importance for Amrop globally as we will be celebrating 40th anniversary, and also locally, at Serbian market, as we will be marking 10th anniversary. I believe that our success lies in the mix of commitment, agility, confidence and experience.

What are in your opinion main criteria for being successful in this industry?

Can you tell us something about Amrop`s plans for the future.

— Many changes are happening in our industry, globally and regionally. Deep industry insights, sector specialization and global reach will become even more im-

— Amrop always strives to follow new business trends and to react on clients` needs and requirements with different kind of activities. Beside executive search,


SUCCESSFUL MIX Our success lies in the mix of commitment, agility, confidence and experience

which is our core business for four decades, leadership assessments and key people development are becoming also our important direction, which we are already implementing in the Adriatic region. The size of our business in Serbia requires team expansion. Our Belgrade team will get two more members during the first six months. Due to that, we will move to bigger offices to be able to give needed support to our clients. There are also plans for new initiatives, not only on a local, but also on the regional level, which will be revealed soon. So please, follow us on our website to be informed promptly.




— Text —

Žikica Milošević


CRADDLE OF MODERN POP MUSIC The country that changed it all and changed everyone

Nick Cave, 1986. Photo: Yves Lorson





ell, I don't mean the victory at the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, nor do I mean pretty Lena from 2010, nor Modern Talking, nor Sandra, nor Nena. I mean some people who were so profoundly changed by the touch of Germany that they invented completely new types of music, who further influenced other musicians and countless people with their feelings, lyrics and music that it changed our world forever. And here's the biggest secret of all: it all started in Germany.

HAMBURG It is no secret that The Beatles were just American-inspired rock ‘n’ roll wannabes from the port city of Liverpool, at the end of Europe. Realistically. And then they popped in and said “Hello” to Germany, to another port city. But this one was neither provincial nor Americanised. It was good ol' Hamburg, Hanseatic place, the crossroads of influences. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, in 1960 it rose up and reshaped itself as a modern, cosmopolitan place. Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn writes: “They




pulled into Hamburg at dusk on 17th August, the time when the red-light area comes to life ... flashing neon lights screamed out the varied entertainment on offer, while scantily clad women sat unabashed in shop windows waiting for business opportunities.” It was a shock for the young Brits. And they were a five-piece band back then. One of the crucial members, as the film “Backbeat” taught us, was Stuart Sutcliffe, who was a friend of John Lennon and who was desperately in love with Astrid Kirchher, a German beauty and photographer. Her existentialist friends, inspired by French philosophers, were wearing black turtlenecks and had their hair on their foreheads. She did Stuart’s first makeover in 1961 and gave him a “Eu-




ropean” haircut, and soon the rest of the crew abandoned their “Elvis” hairstyles and preposterous American jackets and adopted the Hamburg style. They invented a whole new fashion, and a new music. They conceived hits that fused American rock ‘n’ roll and European traditions, spicing up rock ‘n’ roll with German and undeniably British sensibility. They even recorded some of their first songs in German. If you’d like to hear “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in German, do a YouTube search for it as “Komm gib dir dein Hand”. It is touching.

BERLIN Who was not changed by Berlin? Let's start with David Bowie. Arguably the most important musician that has


ever walked this Earth, he lived in Berlin between 1976 and 1979, where he made three albums that were crucial to his career. Before the end of 1976, Bowie’s interest in the burgeoning German music scene, as well as his drug addiction, prompted him to move to West Berlin, in order to clean up and revitalise his career. There he was often seen riding a bicycle between his apartment on Hauptstraße in Schöneberg and Hansa Tonstudio, the recording studio he used, located on Köthener Straße in Kreuzberg, near the Berlin Wall. Inspired by Krautrock and Kraftwerk synth-pop beginnings, he caught the Zeitgeist. Heroes perhaps best epitomised the divided Europe and the Cold War. And Bowie was, and is, the ultimate influence.

dark, gloomy streets of West Berlin. Where could a tortured soul feel better than in the city that was a cage surrounded by the Wall? The champion of dark music was marked and changed by Berlin, and no matter where he went afterwards, Berlin never left him. Nor did it leave all of us who listened to all of them.


As for arguably the greatest modern band, Depeche Mode, music history records the following: “For their third LP Construction Time Again, Depeche Mode worked with producer Gareth Jones, at John Foxx's Garden Studios and at Hansa Studios in West Berlin (where much of David Bowie’s trilogy of seminal electronic albums, featuring Brian Eno, were produced). The album saw a dramatic shift in the group’s sound, due in part to Wilder’s introduction of the Synclavier and E-mu Emulator samplers. By sampling the noises of everyday objects, the band created an eclectic, industrial-influenced sound, with similarities to groups such as the Art of Noise and Einstürzende Neubauten, the latter having subsequently also released work on the Mute label.” Einstürzende Neubauten, the fathers of industrial


music, banging on metal barrels and creating other “machine” sounds, changed the sound of these suburban Brits from cheerful electronica to something much darker and a bit sinister. Still a great influence on many bands today, Depeche Mode successfully mixed splendid melodies with something profoundly dark. And it came from Germany, from Berlin, from the Divided Capital. There is something so deeply German in that turnover and the result. No wonder they are still so popular there. Nick Cave? He too moved to West Berlin in 1985 and drastically changed his musical style. It was once again a result of Einstürzende Neubauten, and Blixa Bargeld even became a member of Cave’s Bad Seeds band. He was influenced by Gothic Americana and blues, but the feeling that has marked his career came from the

Last but not least, the magic Kraftwerk. The guys who perhaps influenced as many people as The Beatles were, finally, true Germans. And they are as German as you can get. Deliberately emphasising “German spirit” in their music, they were a) high-tech (among the first bands to use synthesisers); b) punctual; c) repetitive; d) melodic; e) non-verbal; f) uniformed. They wore matching clothes, played repetitive melodies, with almost no movement on stage, with singing that is somewhat cold and distant. And they created an entirely new direction in music, electro-music that still rules to this day and is omnipresent. And they also influenced bands like Duran Duran, which epitomised the New British Sound of the ‘80s. The Beatles were infected by Germany and created the distinctive British music style of the ‘60s. Bowie did it in the ‘70s, while Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Nick Cave did it in the ‘80s and beyond. Without Germany, music as we know it would not exist. Britain as we know it would not exist. Oh, wait. It happened once before. Remember Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria? How he reshaped Britain? Well, enough said about German culture.






Žikica Milošević




Germany was for decades considered a good place to go for work, to do business or to attend a trade fair. Good infrastructure, a clean environment and … well ... nothing more than that


owever, over the course of time Germany has regained its fame as a major tourist destination, lost its links to the infamous World War II period, and become a hub for culture, design, art, music and, of course, all other “old” attractions, like castles, spas, wineries, ancient cities... just like in the times of Dostoyevsky and Turgenev, who described German cities and spas as beautiful lively tourist attractions.

FACTS AND FIGURES – GIVEN THAT WE ARE IN GERMANY As for facts and figures, they are such a German characteristic that we mustn’t avoid mentioning the pure figures. And they tell us that Germany is the world’s seventh most visited country, with a total of 407.26 million overnight stays during 2012. That number includes 68.83 million overnight stays by foreign visitors. In 2009 the majority of foreign tourists came from the Netherlands, the United States and Switzerland. Additionally, more than 30% of Germans spend their holiday in their home country. According to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Reports, Germany is rated one of the safest travel destinations worldwide, despite the unfortunate and tragic Berlin attack. Surveys by the GNTB include perceptions and reasons for holidaying in Germany, which are as follows: culture (75%), outdoors/

countryside (59%), cities (59%), cleanliness (47%), security (41%), modernity (36%), good hotels (35%), good gastronomy/cuisine (34%), good accessibility (30%), cosmopolitanism/ hospitality (27%), good shopping opportunities (21%), exciting nightlife (17%) and good price/performance ratio (10%) (multiple answers were possible). In terms of the numbers of overnight stays, travel to Germany’s twelve biggest cities more than doubled between 1995 and 2005, marking the largest increase of any travel destination. This increase mainly arose as a result of the growth of cultural tourism, often in conjunction with educational or business travel. Berlin alone receives some 25 million tourists per year, with Munich following with half that many. Hamburg, the Hanse-


atic town and home of the early Beatles, is the third most popular city, with slightly over 10 million visitors. It is interesting that many smaller places attract over a million visitors annually, like the charming Lubeck, with its Gothic centre in the Old Town, and the North Sea resort of Cuxhaven, where a cold breeze merges with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and long sandy beaches are alluring. Interestingly enough, the three most visited attractions are in major cities and are inextricably connected with politics. With an average of over six million visitors entering Cologne Cathedral per year, the cathedral is Germany's most visited landmark. Second and third places go to the Reichstag building in Berlin and the Hofbräuhaus in Munich.

LUTHERLAND This year is extremely important for both Germany and Protestants, given that it marks half a millennium since one of the first Protestant thinkers and leaders did what he did in 1517. Of course, we all know who and what that was: Martin Luther, a rebellious priest who was disgusted with the way the Catholic Church enjoyed splendour and sold indulgencies to finance the completion of St Peter’s Church in Rome, decided to say something in opposition. His “rage against the machine” led to the nailing of a copy of his famous 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. The years




leading up to this date have been declared the Luther Decade, which includes many special events and observances. And although the majority of tourists who will visit East Germany and picturesque cities like Wittemberg will be Protestants from all over the world, you don’t have to be a Lutheran to appreciate the fiery passion and courageous idealism of Martin Luther, the Father of the Reformation. This German theologian and former monk led an effort to reform the Church of his day, but in the end began a new branch of Christianity. A journey through the sites connected to this famous reformer includes some of Germany’s most charming medieval cities and towns, like Wittenberg, Eisenach, Erfurt and Luther’s birthplace, Eisleben. Two of these towns proudly bear the name Lutherstadt: Lutherstadt Eisleben and Lutherstadt. Leningrad and Titograd might have been consigned to history, but “Luthergrad” is here to stay… twice.

THE NORTHERNMOST WINE REGION IN THE WORLD And during October last year the German Tourist Board decided to

promote, apart from Martin Luther and his legacy that spread throughout the world, the story of the world’s Northernmost wine region, which is located north in East Germany and is known as Saale-Unstrut. The entire region is named after two rivers, the Saale and the Unstrut, while the most important towns there are Halle, Freyburg and Naumburg. The Saale-Unstrut wine route leads through the winegrowing region of Saale-Unstrut. The “Weinstraße” was inaugurated in 1993 as the 13th German Wine Route. It is the northernmost wine road in Germany and Europe. It is not warm enough to produce red wine, but there are white wines, like Müller-Thurgau, Weißburgunder and Grauburgunder, Bacchus, Riesling, Silvaner, Gutedel and Kerner. About 24% of the wines produced there are rosé wines, like Dornfelder, Portugieser, Spätburgunder and Blaue Zweigelt. The idyllic landscapes full of vineyards are dotted with beautiful castles and towns, and Querfurt is one of the most interesting among them – as a site where many films depicting the Middle Ages were shot. On the other hand, you cannot miss Naumburg and its cathedral, with its splendid Gothic


art and Queen Uta – arguably the most beautiful women portrayed in the history of art. It is strange how the Gothic art period was the last period when the ideal of beauty was exactly the same as today: thin women, with full lips and big eyes. You can imagine Uta walking down the catwalk or streets of any modern city today, which cannot be said for later Renaissance fatties, not to mention baroque beauties, with their small mouths, small eyes and … big bodies. The cities and towns in this part of Germany, and in Germany generally, all remind us of Hesse’s “Narcissus and Goldmund”, while we are enchanted by the spirit of bygone times fused carefully with modernity and high-tech. Greenery and technology married, that could be the best explanation of Germany, and it perfectly applies here.

BADEN BADEN There are many baths in Europe, and there are certainly a lot in Germany, but only one of them is called “Bathing-Bathing”. Of course, it is the rhythmically named BadenBaden. Thanks to its mild climate and hot springs, Baden-Baden is one of the world's best-known spa towns.







Baden-Baden - whether for its sporting facilities, lovely scenery or splendid spas - a good place to begin your adventure is in the trendy Kurgarten or Spa Garden. The hub of the town's cultural life, Kurgarten is surrounded by many of Baden-Baden’s best attractions and is where you’ll find numerous boutiques, galleries, cafés and restaurants. It's also the venue for many events and festivals, including concerts in the Bandshell, as well as pop festivals and a Christmas Market. This is also the site of the spectacular Kurhaus, Baden-Baden's oldest and best-known resort establishment, built between 1821 and 1824 in the style of a French chateau. The pleasant gardens in Kurpark are also worth a visit and include interesting buildings, such as the Trinkhalle or Pump Room and the Greek-Romanian Chapel, built 1863-66, with its interesting tombs. The lovely Lichtentaler Allee, a park and arboretum in the heart of Baden-Baden, is one of the prettiest places in this very pretty city. The densely packed Baden-Baden old town also has many worthwhile sites. Wandering the town’s quaint alleys and lanes is a perfect way to explore its Baroque-influenced architecture. Baden-Baden - once known as Aquae Aureliae - has been a popular spa destination for more than 2,000 years, and much evidence of the Roman presence can still be seen at the well-preserved Roman Bath Ruins. The best example is the Soldiers’ Bath under the present day Friedrichsbad spa, with its ancient floor and wall heating systems. Another highlight is the two-metre-high Roman wall. Well, if Romans knew it, there’s no reason why we should not know it … and sample it. No trip to beautiful Baden-Baden would be complete without taking in its wonderful spas, a tradition that has existed since Roman times. It's also a popular destination for sports enthusiasts, with many golf and tennis clubs, as well as equestrian sports like horse racing. In summer it’s a haven for hiking, while in winter it attracts both Nordic and downhill skiers. The Schwarzwald-Hochstrasse tourist route skirts the extensive forests located within the municipal boundaries, making Baden-Baden a perfect base from which to explore the beautiful Black Forest. If you are in Baden-Baden, and whatever your reason for visiting






From the late 18th century onwards, cities like Dresden, Munich, Weimar and Berlin were major stops on any grand European tour. Nowadays Germany is the fastest growing tourist destination in the world, in terms of overnight stays and total visitors annually. It is no wonder in today’s world – filled with uncertainty, terrorism, illiberal tendencies, lost destinations caused by danger and destruction – that Germany, as a country “on the road” in the middle of Europe, situated along the way wherever you are going, attracts visitors with its security, beauty, infrastructure, gently preserved nature and carefully and impeccably preserved and restored Mediaeval towns. Germany is on the tourist map once again, and it is there to stay. Or rather, it is there to climb ever higher in the rankings. Germany first became a leader of the economy, then the leader of the European Union, and then the leader of the so-called Free World. It is time for it to become the leader in tourism and travel, as it was before the atrocious 20th century. The 21st century is one for Germany, in every way.







InFocus Germany 2017  
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