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NORDIC COUNTRIES

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 2016


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COMMENT

I think it is impossible to be a politician of modern times and to perceive the world through national or administrative borders that are ornaments of the past. I believe that a region is the smallest area that a modern leader should have in mind when making decisions and facing the challenges of this time, in the sense that regions are not defined by administrative boundaries, but rather by nature, culture and mentality

ALEKSANDAR VUČIĆ, PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA

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achieve little in the modern economy without hen I say this, I mean the territory working jointly with their neighbours. By joinlarger than a state, such as the Balkan region that is the home of ing forces it is easier to overcome common my country, Serbia. problems that occur in global markets and I am also a firm believer in learning from conquer new technologies. the best, and I do not see a better model to When it comes to the work ethic, I am learn from than the Nordic, or Scandinavian, proud of the fact that Serbian workers have as we popularly refer to it in Serbia. I truly bebeen working for Nordic companies and learning from them for more than two declieve that the mentality of the people in the Balkans needs to be overhauled, which is also ades. These companies include pioneers of in line with the differences between Northern foreign investments in Serbia, such as Tetra European and Mediterranean nations. The Pak, or the largest individual investor in Serepicentre of this change is the work ethic, as bia, Telenor, and Tikkurila Group in Šabac that well as the relationship between the state is raising company Zorka Colors to a new opand its citizens. erating level, and ending with the latest enIn the Nordic countries, patriotism is demtrants, like IKEA and PKC, whose investments onstrated by paying taxes and contributing to the country, for which Nations that wish to progress and leap into the future have one expects in return a modern already faced the fact that they can achieve little in the modern education and protection, ranging economy without working jointly with their neighbours. By joining from health and legal, all the way to safety and security. In our region it forces it is easier to overcome common problems that occur in is more common that an individual global markets and conquer new technologies will look for any possible way to circumvent the system, to avoid liabilare a seed for the whole region. All of them ity, but still expect benefits from the state. were evangelists of a new attitude towards This includes the battle against corruption, work, examples of someone who needs to which in Scandinavia is based on the principle level out our differences in mentality and lead of zero tolerance that I am working diligently us into the future. to apply in our country. Not only politicians, I would like to finish this editorial by conbut even kings have not been spared from that fight in Nordic countries, and tycoons do not centrating on our similarities rather than our even need to be mentioned. In societies that differences. I do not see a greater similarity cherish the middle class, voters consistently between the Balkan and the Nordic countries vote out the greedy, or politicians that they than in the courage of the people. In the past, believe are not working in the public interest. this Viking-like courage was best demonAnother fundamental lesson that I think strated in war, and I do not see a better modpeople from the Balkans should learn from ern battlefield to display this courage than by the Scandinavians is teamwork. In the Balchanging ourselves and our habits. This perkans we often wish bad luck upon our neighsonal change in mentality is the most difficult change to make and I am grateful to you for bour, which is a retrograde legacy of the forbeing a guiding light that we can follow on our mer time and small-town mentality. Nations endeavour. ■ that wish to progress and leap into the future Welcome to the Serbia of the future! have already faced the fact that they can

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INTERVIEW

New Opportunities For Business Cooperation Are Coming The main objective of the Nordic Business Alliance is to become a one-stop-shop for potential Nordic investors as well as Serbian exporters to Nordic region. According to recent trends in mutual trade and extended investments of Nordic companies in Serbia, we are on a slow but steady path to growth

JASMINA VIGNJEVIĆ, CHAIRPERSON OF THE NORDIC BUSINESS ALLIANCE

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e spoke with Jasmina Vignjević, Chairperson of the Nordic Business Alliance, about the possibilities for the further development of business ties between Serbian and Nordic economies.

• How close are we today to the figure of one billion dollars in trade between Serbia and Nordic countries? - According to data provided by Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, the value of foreign trade between Serbia and the four Nordic countries amounted to US$ 700 million in 2014, with an upward trend. We still do not have access to data from 2015, but based on this, our expectations are that the value of foreign trade has increased. If the Government continues along the EU path and pushes further reform, I am convinced that amount of one billion could be reached very soon.

• Which long-standing members of Nordic Business Alliance are seen as the main potential for the expansion of foreign trade and investment in Serbia? - Serbia is usually perceived as an economy that is traditionally oriented to agriculture, however it is growing fast in the IT sector in recent years. Nordic investors are mainly long-term oriented, it is not easy to attract them, but once they decide to make investment decisions, they usually stay and invest here for a longer periods. From my experience, they really appreciate recommendations of reliable partners who have already invested in Serbia. • To what extent do the laws in Serbia follow newer business models that are close to companies in Nordic countries? - We believe that laws and regulations in Serbia should stimulate innovations for which Nordic countries are well known. For example, being in digital era, it is very important for the new law on electronic commerce to introduce a more flexible and simplified digital signature, so companies can do most contracts and payments on line.

• Do you regard the imminent opening of IKEA as symbolic, or is it the opening of real opportunities to increase the linking of partners in the Nordic countries with domestic companies? - Ikea’s launching in Serbia is a very imporIn order to stimulate innovations for which Nordic countries are well tant event and definitely serves as a symknown, the Government should adopt laws and regulations that are bol that presence of Nordic business is becompatible with the digital era, lose state monopolies and regulate coming stronger in Serbia. Definitely, new opportunities for business cooperation cross-border data traffic transfer as per EU benchmarks are coming - now Serbian companies will have an opportunity to compete with manBreaking state monopolies on infrastructure, for example enabling access ufacturers and suppliers from around the world in order to become Ikea’s supplito fibre to other players, is critical in today’s digital era where we are moving er. Regarding that, Standard Furniture Serbia is a successful example how a local from voice to data world. Monopolies in this area, signalled by the protectioncompany can supply Ikea's global network. ism of state ownership in infrastructure, should be abolished. Something similar Telenor, which is celebrating 10 years of successful business in Serbia this happened in Nordic countries when the state opened its infrastructure. And look September, is one of the good examples of Norwegian confidence in Serbia. Telwhere they are now – investing in ICT all over the world. enor’s investment in launching Telenor Banka with initial investments of 40 milFinally, in order for Serbia to become a part of new regional business modlion EUR underscores this. els and even potential headquarters for the companies with regional footprint, Of course there are other possibilities for making connections between Norcross-border data traffic transfer needs to be regulated as per EU benchmarks. dic and Serbian companies. Over 40 Nordic companies are members of the NorThe Government will have this possibility in the new Law on Electronic Commudic Business Alliance and when somebody comes to us with business idea, we nications, which is in the pipeline and in line to be adopted by the end of 2016. ■ are willing to recommend a potential partner among our members.

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Nordic Countries

COPENHAGEN, Denmark

HELSINKI, Finland

Nordic countries are a group of countries in Northern Europe. These countries include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and the territories of the Aland Islands and the Faroe Islands. Though often confused as such, Scandinavia is not equivalent to the Nordic countries

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Finland was gradually incorporated into the Swedish kingdom in the 12th and he part of the world that we now call the Nordic Region first came 13th centuries. into contact with the rest of Europe during the Viking era (approx. AD 800–1050), as pagan seafarers from the north ravaged, traded with After the Second World War the politicians of the time strived for strongand settled in many areas of Europe. er international co-operation. This was the time when the United Nations was Christian Europe responded with intensive missionary work. The Nordic established, the Council of Europe created and the first steps were taken tochiefs soon saw the advantages of adopting the new faith, which bolstered wards the EU. At the same time there were many discussions on much closer their power and offered easier access to the Continent. The missionaries Nordic co-operation. As a result the Nordic Council was formed in 1952. wanted the new territories to be ruled by Christian kings who would help to Today, all of the Nordic countries have a higher GDP per person than the strengthen the church. EU. In Norway the GDP per person is double the size than that of the EU. NorThe earliest history of the Region is shrouded in mystery – and only hinted way is at the top, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark are number two, three and at by the sagas – but we know that by the end of the 11th century, the ScandiToday, all of the Nordic countries have a higher GDP per person navian lands had been divided between than the EU. In Norway the GDP per person is double that of the the three newly established kingdoms of EU. Norway is at the top, while Sweden, Iceland and Denmark are Denmark, Norway and Sweden. ranked two, three and four, with more or less the same figures It was their waterways that held the three kingdoms together. Denmark arose at the entrance to the Baltic and incorporated Jutland, Scania and the four with more or less the same figures. many islands in that area. Norway means “the north road”, i.e. the waterway The Nordic countries have a long-standing tradition of working together from the River Göta and the Oslo Fjord around South Norway and to the north. on matters related to nature and the environment. Many positive results have Sweden's core areas skirted the Baltic Sea coast and the large lakes at the already been achieved, but they are not enough in a globalised world. Nordic centre of the country. co-operation on environmental matters covers everything from health to the Outside of Scandinavia (i.e. modern-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), marine environment, outdoor life and sustainability. Iceland, the Faroe Islands and south-west Greenland gradually became part of Nordic Safe Cities aims to promote security throughout the Nordic Region the Norwegian kingdom after they were colonised by the Vikings. Modern-day by preventing radicalisation and violent extremism. The programme is a part of

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OSLO, Norway

STOCKHOLM, Sweden

Norway and Sweden. Again, this gives a new, wider, definition which includes a larger Nordic Council of Ministers’ program for Democracy, Inclusion and SeNorway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. curity, and it includes networking, knowledge-sharing and communication for Culturally and historically, the north of Europe has been the political playpoliticians, senior executives and professional practitioners from Nordic cities. Gender equality is also a key area of co-operation for the Nordic counground of the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Finland was a part of the kingdom of Sweden, and Iceland belonged to tries. It has contributed to the Nordic Region being one of the most gender Norway and Denmark. Besides a common history, politically and economically equal regions in the world. these five countries have followed a similar model known as the Nordic welAlthough in the rest of the world the words "Scandinavian" and "Nordic" are happily used in a similar manner and are interchangeable, in northern fare state since the 20th century. ■ Europe they are not. Indeed, Europeans love to magnify even the smallest differFinland was a part of the kingdom of Sweden, and Iceland belonged ence between neighbouring countries to Norway and Denmark. Besides a common history, politically and and you will probably be corrected if you economically these five countries have followed a similar model don't use the words in their appropriate known as the Nordic welfare state since the 20th century context. The true problem is discovered when even Europeans (or Scandinavians) themselves cannot agree on the meaning of "Scandinavian" and "Nordic"... Geographically speaking, the Scandinavian peninsula is the area shared by Norway, Sweden and part of northern Finland. In this view, the Scandinavian countries would therefore focus only on Norway and Sweden. Linguistically, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish have a common word called "Skandinavien". That word refers to the ancient territories of the Norsemen: Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This definition is considered to be the most commonly accepted definition of "Scandinavia" at the present time, but this interpretation can easily change across different regions. So we focus on the territory of the Norsemen. However, Iceland was also one of the Norsemen's regions. In addition, Icelandic belongs to the same linguistic family as Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. And so do the Faroe Islands. Therefore, you will find that many non-Scandinavian natives connect Scandinavia to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. H.E. JAN LUNDIN, H.E. PERTTI JUHANI IKONEN, MORTEN SKOVGAARD HANSEN (Head of Mission), and H.E. ARNE SANNES BJØRNSTAD And, finally, Swedish is used partially in Finland just as Finnish is spoken in

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INTERVIEW

Positive Economic Developments Good bilateral relations between Serbia and Denmark are now further strengthened by increasing trade and the rising interest of Danish companies to invest in Serbia MORTEN SKOVGAARD HANSEN

HEAD OF MISSION FOR THE EMBASSY OF DENMARK IN BELGRADE

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enmark benefits due to its strong economy and close ties with both the EU and the United Kingdom. It advocates for a reformed Union focused on growth, job creation and security, which also contributes strongly to Balkan stability.

• What do you see as the precondition for tighter bilateral and economic cooperation between our two countries? - We already see a positive development. In 2015 we saw substantially increased exports from Denmark, and we see new investments. In our contacts with Danish companies interested in the Serbian market, rule of law is an issue which has their attention. Strengthened rule of law, including reform of the judicial sector and the fight against corruption, could lead to increased commercial ties. Serbian exports to Denmark are also increasing. As the Serbian private sector becomes more competitive, in parallel with the reform process, there is room for further exports – not only to Denmark, but also to other EU member states which are already Serbia’s most important trade partners. Denmark is pleased to have supported economic development in Serbia through various programmes. I would like to highlight our ‘Fruits and Berries’ project in Southern Serbia, which has contributed to an impressive increase in Serbian production and exports of raspberries and other fruits.

• What are the major goals of the Nordic leaders when it comes to restoring the EU spirit of togetherness? - In many ways we live in challenging times and that also goes for the EU. Important work lies ahead for the European leaders. The Danish Prime Minister has stated that the European Union is Denmark’s best option for influencing the world, and also emphasised how dependent Denmark and our economy is on European cooperation. Our Minister for Foreign Affairs, after the referendum in the United Kingdom, stated that “the referendum shows that the EU is in need of reform and increased focus on delivering tangible results to citizens. I believe that the EU should focus on growth and job creation, cooperation in controlling migration and security in the form of close police cooperation and combating terrorism.” I would add that Strengthened rule of law, including reform of the judicial these areas are also important in our relations with Serbia. sector and the fight against corruption, could lead to Countries like Serbia, which are applying for membership in increased commercial ties between our two countries the European Union, also remind us of the origins of the European Union, focusing on peace and stability and the important contribution the EU still gives to that. • What do you see as the most important tasks for the new Serbian government? • Being strongly tied to both the UK and the EU, how has the Danish econ- With the importance the Government gives to the EU accession process, we omy fared following Brexit? of course hope to see progress in the related reform process. The government - Denmark has strong ties with the UK and will continue to have. Regarding has given a high priority to strengthening the economy and we already see some Brexit, it is too early to say what the consequences will be. Denmark has positive results. Hopefully that will provide a good basis for further improvements and reforms. Looking at the EU accession process, which in general supthe benefit of having a strong economy. Through continuous reforms over ports reforms that are to the benefit to the population, rule of law should be the years we have secured an effective public sector and a competitive innovative private sector. That provides Denmark with a good basis for fumentioned as the most important area. However, also in areas such as the enviture challenges. ronment important reforms will have to be implemented in the coming years. ■

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Happiest People in The World

DENMARK

Denmark took the top spot on the United Nation's World Happiness Report, 2013 & 2014 & 2016, and came in third in the 2015 report. Even though the weather can be dreary and in winter it’s dark most of the day, Danish people are considered to be the world’s happiest

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he word ‘Denmark’ dates back to the Viking age and is carved on the famous Jelling Stone from around 900 AD. Today though Denmark is very different from its historical past. Between the 13th and 17th centuries, Denmark was a superpower whose influence was as powerful as that of the largest European countries. Today, the current size and influence of Denmark is the result of 400 years of forced relinquishments of land, surrenders and lost battles. For a small country though, Denmark still punches above its weight in many different areas including design, architecture, farming, green technology and pharmaceuticals.

The political system of Denmark is that of a multi-party structure, where several parties can be represented in Parliament at any one time. Danish governments are often characterized by minority administrations, aided with the help of one or more supporting parties. This means that Danish politics is based on consensus politics. Since 1909, no single party has had the majority in Parliament. The basic principle of the Danish welfare system, often referred to as the Scandinavian welfare model, is that all citizens have equal rights to social security. Within the Danish welfare system, a number of services are available to citizens, free of charge. This means that for instance the Danish health and educational systems are free. The Danish welfare model is subsidised by the state, and as a result Denmark has one of the highest taxation levels in the world. When people talk about the Danish labour market they often use the term

“flexicurity” to describe the model which is successfully managing the challenges of globalization and securing steady economic growth and employment. Studies show that Danes are positive about globalization and do not fear losing their jobs. Rather they seek opportunities for new and better jobs. This is partly ascribed to the flexicurity model which promotes adaptability of employees and enterprises. Flexicurity is a compound of flexibility and security. The Danish model has a third element - active labor market policy - and together these elements comprise the golden triangle of flexicurity. The political system of Denmark is that of a multi-party structure, where several parties can be represented in Parliament at any one time. Danish governments are often characterized by minority administrations, aided with the help of one or more supporting parties. This means that Danish politics is based on consensus politics. Since 1909, no single party has had the majority in Parliament. Since 28 June 2015, the Government has consisted of the Liberal Pary (Venstre), Lars Løkke Rasmussen is the Prime Minister. Danes are proud of their queen and their royal monarchy. Queen Margrethe is widely respected for her intellectual prowess and her artistic abilities including working as an illustrator, set designer for the theatre and textile artist. Along with the Prince Consort, the Queen has translated French literary works into Danish and vice versa. ■

HM QUEEN MARGRETHE II of Denmark

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INTERVIEW

Tradition – Basis For The Future Carlsberg bases its business worldwide on standards related to concrete operations, primarily in the field of responsible communication, business ethics, investment and the community, respect for human and labour rights and, of course, efficiency of operations JOVANA MLADENOVIĆ

COMMUNICATION MANAGER AT CARLSBERG SRBIJA AND MANAGER OF THE CARLSBERG AND DUNĐERSKI FOUNDATION

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arlsberg Group, headquartered in the famous Carlsberg Vej street in Copenhagen, Denmark, will next year mark 170 years since it produced the first bottle of “probably the best” lager. During all this time, from a small brewery to a multinational company with over 40,000 employees, the staff members have remained committed to maintaining existing standards and advancing new standards in the production of beer, but also in corporate social responsibility. • Carlsberg Group employs more than 40,000 people in over 150 countries in the world and sells more than 115 million bottles of beer every day, and next year marks 170 years since it produced the first bottles of the famous lager. On which principles and standards does such a great system function? - At first glance, when you read all those numbers, it seems that Carlsberg is just one of many leading international companies with the ambition to grow and conquer new markets. However, it is less well known to the general public that a completely different story hides behind the operations of this brewing “giant”. And that is that the largest shareholder in this company for more than a hundred years, according to the wishes of its founder, Jacob C. Jacobsen, is the Carlsberg Foundation, headquartered in Copenhagen, which deals in investments in science and education. J.C. Jacobsen was a passionate brewer with a vision to create the perfect beer, but also to contribute through his work to the betterment of the society in which he lived. That vision is woven into the DNA of our company even today. On the one hand, it is reflected in the fact that with all our efforts in the field of brewing we strive to make a

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better quality product and we are constantly working on its improvement. On the other hand, a significant part of the profits generated by Carlsberg on the global level of the foundation goes to the development of science and education, and thus we help the development of the society in which we live and operate. I can say that these are the two basic principles underlying our work, while a set of standards related to concrete operations, primarily in the field of responsible communication, business ethics, investment and the community, respect for human and labour rights, enables us to live the same in our organisation on all markets and with tens of thousands of employees. We are proud that, unlike many companies that build their vision over time, Carlsberg has had its vision since the emergence of the company and has been nurturing it for 170 years. • To what extent can the standards and procedures of the Danish Head office be transferred and used in the current business environment in Serbia? - The standards and procedures that are closely related to the internal functioning of the organisation are in most cases fully implemented. In a way they also define the culture of the company itself, so that is very similar in all Carlsberg companies, whether in China, Russia, Western European countries or in Serbia. However, that part of the business that directly or indirectly involves external stakeholders requires harmonisation with local legislation, and sometimes also the culture of the nations, and it adapts according to the needs of individual companies.


• In your opinion, what would contribute to the improvement of the brewing industry in Serbia, and which would also benefit the state and customers and the industry itself? - Regular dialogue with the government on legislative issues, primarily tax issues that have a significant impact on the operations of brewing companies in Serbia, is of utmost importance to the stability of the entire industry. We will always fulfil our obligations towards the state, and we are certainly aware of the economic situation and the measures that are sometimes inevitable, but if we were notified on time or, better yet, actively participated in the discussion when implementing the same, we believe that in many cases the outcome would be more favourable both for the state and for us, and ultimately also for the consumers. We are sure that nobody has the goal of the industry collapsing, because that would – both indirectly and directly – impact on the employment of a large number of people and, of course, the influx of money into the budget. You need to find such a measure in determining the levies for manufacturers in order for our market to continue to remain attractive for further investment, because that is the only guarantee for the long-term success of the industry and the Serbian economy in general. • Carlsberg is known for its constant innovation in the production, promotion and marketing of its many brands. Which brand has the most fans in Serbia? - That is certainly LAV beer. LAV is the largest brand in our portfolio and one of the most popular beer brands in Serbia. It is true that Carlsberg is also known for its innovative approach when it comes to different tastes, but also modes of communication and promotion. World trends in brewing are also increasingly present in our country and monitoring them is a necessity for survival. The latest example of a brewing trend is craft beers and the various flavours they offer. Craft brewing is expanding incredibly worldwide, but also in our country, albeit not to the same extent, people increasingly want to try these “special” types of beers. In this regard, we have developed a portfolio of the most diverse brands that offer consumers black wheat beer, sunshine bright beer, as well as some craft brands.

SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS OF DUNĐERSKI FOUNDATION

• The operations of Carlsberg Group are dedicated to providing a positive contribution to society and the environment through CSR activities, and in Serbia also through the Carlsberg and Dunđerski Foundation. How much do these activities differ in Denmark and Serbia; in this sense, what has marked the previous period and what are you announcing for the coming months? - Investing in the betterment of the community has been part of the global vision of the company since its inception. In Denmark, the Carlsberg Foundation leads social responsibility activities, while in Serbia we work through the Carlsberg and Dunđerski Foundation. Apart from the volume of projects, which is certainly smaller in our country, the areas of operation of both foundations are largely the same. Unlike the foundation in Denmark, whose focus is on the development of science and education, in Serbia we also support the preservation of cultural heritage, environmental initiatives, responsible alcohol consumption, the local community

We are proud that, unlike many companies that build their vision

over time, Carlsberg has had its vision since the emergence of the • How satisfied are you with the professional qualifications of newly employed workcompany and has been nurturing it for 170 years ers and how does the internal training system function? of Bačka Palanka (primarily Čelarevo, where our brewery is located), but - The best proof that Serbia has quality staff who are absolutely qualified to also current social issues in the society. In 2016, we signed a three-year cowork in the global headquarters of international companies are some of our operation agreement with the Faculty of Economics, Law and Technolocolleagues who today hold very important positions at our HQ in Copenhagen, gy in Novi Sad, and rewarded the best students of this faculty with annuor in the seats of individual functions across Europe. I think that high quality al scholarships. We assisted sporting and cultural activities in Čelarevo, as manpower certainly exists in Serbia, but I would nevertheless add that, in adwell as educational institutions, and by the end of the year we will impledition to expertise, the profile of a person who comes into the company and ment, together with the Municipality of Bačka Palanka, a project of comtheir ability to fit into the company’s culture is as important a parameter in the pletely arranging the town square and parks. Budgets are a measurable elselection of a new member of the team. ement that is most often mentioned when giving donations, but also the When it comes to internal training at Carlsberg, what has been in focus for benefit that you leave for generations to come, and which in the first inyears, especially since the organisation has been growing rapidly and becomstance are often intangible, though that testifying to what you have truly ing more complex, is training connected to the broader considering of business, done for the community. Although every year it seems that there is growwhich is essential in order for the decisions we take at the sectoral level to be the ing awareness among us as companies and the entire nation regarding the best for the business as a whole. All decision-makers at any level must know the impact on the environment in which we live and work, the truth is that we financial implications, the impact on sales, but also on the external stakeholders, are still awaited by a long road. ■ with every business move. In this sense, internal training helps significantly. • NORDIC ALLIANCE &SERBIA •

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INFOSTUD AND ALMA MEDIA

Four Years of Partnership

INFOSTUD'S STAFF

Cooperation between these Serbian and Finnish business groups has improved their internet business, but also enabled mutual familiarisation with their culture

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innish media group Alma Media has since 2012 been a partner of Subotica-based company Infostud, one of Serbia’s most successful internet companies. Alma Media owns a 25 per cent stake in Infostud, which has a dozen different sites in the areas of employment, the auto sector, education, tourism and insurance, almost all of which are leaders in their respective areas of business. This now four-year partnership between these two successful groups has enabled the mutual exchange of knowhow in the internet business and the development of joint projects. Regular meetings of employees are held in Finland, Serbia or in other European countries where Alma Media also operates. The closest cooperation has been developed between the Finnish and Serbian sites for the sale of used cars, autotalli.com and polovniautomobili. com, as well as sites for employment within the Alma Media Group - profesia.sk (Slovakia), monsterpolska.pl (Poland), poslovi.infostud.com (Serbia), www.cvonline.com (Lithuania), www.prace.cz (Czech Republic), www.posao. ba (BiH), www.moj-posao.net (Croatia) and www.monster.hu (Hungary). In addition to the exchange of business knowledge, another great advantage offered by this group is the opportunity to get to know different cultures. Thanks to cooperation with Infostud, Finns have familiarized themselves better with Serbia, especially Belgrade and Subotica, while on the other side colleagues from Serbia have visited Tampere and Helsinki several times, thus becoming familiar with the Finnish culture. One of the special wishes of the Infostud team is also to visit Lapland and the workshop of Santa Claus and reindeer farm located there. Otherwise, Finland is not the only Nordic country with which Infostud cooperates. All Nordic embassies in Belgrade, as well as a large number of companies from these countries, employ staff through the site poslovi.infostud.com. Moreover, Infostud also recently expanded its business to the field of insurance, launching the site Osiguranik.com, and the Embassy of Sweden in Belgrade became one of the clients of this site. â–


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INTERVIEW

Finland is Committed to Supporting Serbia Economic relations between Finland and the Western Balkan countries are currently at a relatively low level. However, there are many opportunities for improvement, as the interest of Finnish companies in the region is growing H.E. PERTTI JUHANI IKONEN AMBASSADOR OF FINLAND

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longside other current challenges that are confronting Europe, migration needs to play a central role in the EU’s external relations, especially in the dialogue with the countries of origin and transit

• How do you see prospects of further EU integration after Brexit and the possibility of new members being accepted? - It would be too early to estimate the full impact of the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the EU, as many key questions – including the timetable – are still open. Understandably, the situation may have raised some questions or caused some concern, but the enlargement of the EU will continue and Finland encourages all applicant countries to continue with the reforms needed for accession. The better a country fulfils the criteria for joining the EU, the stronger a member state it will be.

opened so far. Of course, more work is still needed in order for Serbia to fulfil the criteria of EU membership. Finland is committed to supporting Serbia on its road towards the EU, as we know that the negotiation process is a huge effort for any country. So far, we have had many Finnish experts, for example in the transport and education sectors, to assist Serbs in their EU integration, and we are ready to share our expertise in the future as well. • Where do you see the best opportunities for Finnish companies to improve current trade figures in Western Balkan markets, and what are the major hurdles? - Economic relations between Finland and the Western Balkan countries are currently at a relatively low level. However, there are many opportunities for improvement, as the interest of Finnish companies in the region is growing. Traditionally, industries with the most potential in the Western Balkans are the automotive, textile, metal and food processing sectors, as well as the fast growing ICT sector. More recently, sectors such as energy and environment have become increasingly interesting for Finnish companies. Furthermore, large investments are needed in these sectors. Looking at Serbia, increasing confidence in the stability of the Serbi-

• What do you see as a sustainable solution for the migrant crisis and the restoration of security in the EU? - Since 2015, Europe has been experiencing unprecedented migratory flows that are expected to continue and possibly intensify over the coming years. The current situation is not only a European challenge, but a global one – as this irregular migration is driven by historical, political and economic problems in the countries of origin. In finding solutions to the current challenge, a broadLooking at Serbia, increasing confidence in the stability er perspective, cooperation with key partners and longof the Serbian market is based on ongoing reforms and term commitment are essential. Migration needs to play a the EU integration process central role in the EU’s external relations, especially in the dialogue with the countries of origin and transit. The EU an market is based on ongoing reforms and the EU integration process. needs to intensify the use all relevant EU policies, instruments and tools, Here, the focus should be on trade cooperation between small and mediincluding development and trade. The Partnership Framework from June um-sized companies in Serbia and Finland. When we manage to improve 2016 offers a comprehensive and strategic approach for the work moving forward. and activate contacts between these companies, both imports and exports will grow. • How does Finland support Serbia's EU accession process? Obviously, there are also challenges in the Western Balkan markets, - Serbia has put a lot of effort into reforming its society during recent but they are similar to anywhere else. The opportunities for growth in the years and the results can be seen. One indication of the remarkable Western Balkan countries clearly outweigh the challenges and we can progress Serbia has made is the negotiation chapters that have been learn a lot from each other. ■

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FINLAND

The Land of a Thousand Lakes Finland is called 'the land of a thousand lakes', as inland lakes and rivers make up 10 per cent of the country. Large areas of forest cover almost two thirds of the land mass. Only six per cent of Finland is arable

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inland has a population of 5.5 million, around a million of whom live in the area in and around the capital city, Helsinki. Finland is a republic. The president, who is directly elected by the people, has real power over foreign affairs, EU policy and major military decisions. In all other matters, the parliament is the country's highest authority. Finland is a member of the EU, and its currency is the euro. The country is not a member of NATO. The forestry, technology and metal industries are Finland's most important revenue sources. Finland is the world's biggest producer of mobile phones. Finland has transformed its economy in a matter of decades to become one of the richest countries and most stable societies in the world. In the

1950s the Finnish economy was still largely based on primary production and an agrarian workforce. Today Finland is leading or near the top of most international comparisons in terms of growth and development in the economic, technological and social spheres. The largest sector of the Finnish economy is services at 65%, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31%. Primary production is at 3%. Finland’s main industrial products are paper and board, electronics and metal products. Engineering and high technology industries are the leading branches of manufacturing. Finland also enjoys the highest possible status with the global credit rating agencies Fitch Ratings and Moody’s as Standard & Poor’s ranks Finland AA+. According to the latest report from Fitch, Finland’s AA+ status “is un-

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derpinned by sound public finances, a solid external position, high income per capita, demonstrable political and social stability and an impeccable debt service record”. Finland enjoys one of the world's most advanced and comprehensive welfare, designed to guarantee dignity and decent living conditions for all Finns. The Finnish social security system reflects the traditional Nordic belief that the state can intervene benevolently on the citizens' behalf. Core to the system are social insurance (ex. pensions, sickness & unemployment benefits, workers' compensation), welfare (ex. family aid, child-care services, services for the disabled), and a comprehensive health system. Ssocial security is divided into residence-based social security and employment-based, earnings-related social security. Residence-based social security is financed by tax and administered by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Earnings-based social security is financed by contributions to private insurance companies and pension funds, and administered by the Finnish Centre for Pensions. It is said "to know the heart of Finns, you must read The Kalevala". First published in 1835, The Kalevala is Finland's national epic and draws from a rich oral tradition of folklore and mythology. Physician and philologist Elias Lönnrot travelled the Finnish-Russian borderlands recording the ballads and charms sung by the rural people. From these he assembled a fantastical tale of spells, love, war and revenge - a mythic history of the ancient Finns which fired the imaginations and national consciousness of the Finnish people, and became a foundation of Finnish cultural identity. ■


INTERVIEW: LAWYERS ALEKSANDAR PETROVIĆ AND ALEKSANDRA NIKOLIĆ, LAW OFFICE PETROVIĆ & GLOGONJAC

Ideal Employers

That which Nordic companies insist on in particular is zero tolerance for corruption, the efficiency of operations and increasing social responsibility

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nvestors who come to Serbia from Nordic countries quickly adapt to the Serbian legal system, especially since they use the legal system in order to forestall the emergence of conflicts.

• What are the most common legal disputes that companies from northern Europe have in Serbia and the region? - Companies from northern Europe, in our opinion, have less legal problems in Serbia and in the region than other foreign investors. This does not mean that there is less work for lawyers, because they have learned to use legal services to ensure that problems do not occur. For every business move they first carefully study the legal side, which most commonly eliminates the possibility of problems. It should be noted that Nordic companies have high expectations in relation to the legal system when it comes to respect for the acquired rights, which has sometimes been known to be a problem in this region. As they respect their obligations that arise from the law, they want to freely use all the rights that they are guaranteed by these same laws. I think that all governments in Serbia in the last fifteen years have recognised that and thanks to that we do not know of the emergence of any significant legal problem for Nordic investors.

• You have a lot of experience working with companies of the Nordic countries. How do these companies manage the legal system of Serbia? - We have been working with Nordic companies in Serbia and Montenegro since 1999. Nordic companies fit well in the business environment in this region. They have a highly developed business culture in the sense that they respect the laws and customs of the host country, which is why they are welcome foreign investors in the region. The fact that the Nordic countries and Serbia have never been What has been emphasised in recent years is zero tolerance in political or any other conflict throughout history for corruption, continuous efforts to reduce operating has, in our opinion, contributed to Nordic investors costs and increase the social responsibility of companies, being accepted in the best possible way by both the and therefore the arrival of Nordic investors in a country authorities and the citizens of Serbia. Nordic comcontributes to the overall economic environment panies understand Serbian laws well. In contract law the Anglo-Saxon practice has prevailed in recent decades, so that contracts are almost the same regardless of whether they • What type of legal assistance is most commonly offered by law firm are made in Belgrade, Oslo or Stockholm. Petrović & Glogonjac? - Those are numerous different legal services, from the founding of a company to complex legal transactions in the telecommunications sector. Al• Companies that come from the Nordic countries are known for their high standards of management and operations. To what extent are most all Nordic companies are very interested in the high quality regulatthese standards harmonised with standards in Serbia? ing of employment relations and the optimal understanding of tax regula- It is known that Nordic countries are leaders in business ethics, the ortions. We provide individual Nordic companies with complete legal servicganisation of management and standards of labour rights. However, the es in all areas of law, i.e. our involvement represents a kind of outsourcing Nordics are also “living people” and, just like in our country, those standof legal activities. That is very important for new companies that are just starting their operations in Serbia and who want fast and efficient way to ards have advanced in the last twenty years. What has been emphasised fit into the legal and economic system. In addition to the aforementioned, in recent years is zero tolerance for corruption, continuous efforts to rewe provide services regarding acquisition of companies in Serbia, prepaduce operating costs and increase the social responsibility of companies, and therefore the arrival of Nordic investors in a country contributes to ration of legal due diligence reports and, in the end, if required, representhe overall economic environment. tation before the courts. ■

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INTERVIEW

Nurturing Lasting Friendly Relations Serbia and Norway have been nurturing friendly relations since before the First Balkan War in 1912, which continued during the Second World War, when Norwegians helped Serbian prisoners of war, and today's confirmation of good relations is the Charter of the Honorary Citizen of Belgrade, which will be presented to H.E. Arne Sannes Bjørnstad this month

H.E. ARNE SANNES BJØRNSTAD AMBASSADOR OF NORWAY

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espite complex international political and economic relations, which have a negative impact on the Norwegian economy, Ambassador Bjørnstad expects a greater inflow of investments into Serbia and a continuation of support to the countries of the region.

• How has sliding petrol prices impacted on the Norwegian economy and the country’s involvement as a donor in the region? - With oil prices now a third of what they were only two years ago, the Norwegian economy is facing difficult times. More than 30,000 oil related jobs have been lost since the prices started dropping. Due to the fall of the price of oil and gas, the value of the Norwegian Krone, NOK, lost a quarter of its value against the euro in recent years. Compared with many other oil and gas exporting counties, however, we are faring better, thanks to an innovative and competitive industry with world leaders in ICT, medical technology, finance/insurance, shipping and environmental technologies. Despite these difficult times, Norway will continue to support countries in the region.

• How has the Brexit referendum result affected the Nordic Region’s relations with the EU? - Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has increased the challenges faced by the governments in the Nordic Region, especially Norway and Iceland. Our trade and investment relationship with the UK is very important. Last month the IMF said that Britain’s vote to leave the EU could hurt Norway's exports to • How would you assess economic and overall bilateral relations with Serbia? Britain and hit the profitability of the Nordic country's banking, insurance and - Serbia and Norway have been nurturing friendly relations since before the property sectors. First Balkan War in 1912. When the war broke out in October, a group of NorweHowever, Norway has continued its cooperation with the EU as its top priority, while Britain now needs to negotiate its own deal with the Union. As non-EU member states, Norway and Iceland have access The number of Norwegian companies working in Serbia to the single market from their membership in the European Ecois increasing, and I am sure this trend will continue nomic Area (EEA). • What is your stance regarding the migrant crisis and, in that respect, how do you assess the probability of the Western Balkan route reopening? - Since the migrant crisis broke out in the summer of 2015, Serbia has shown great responsibility and efficiency in dealing with the crisis. The next step is adopting a new Law on Asylum, which will regulate the field of asylum policy and provide protection for migrants. The draft Law is underway. Some of the embassy’s grantees have been actively involved in this. Despite being officially closed in March, refugees and migrants still use the Balkan route, albeit in smaller numbers. Unfortunately, the closure has created a market for criminals engaged in trafficking. If the EU-Turkey deal fails and the Balkan route starts operating at full scale again, I am sure that Serbia will work with the EU to introduce tighter control on the border crossings and take stronger measures against traffickers. As a friend of Serbia, Norway will continue to support the country in facing these challenges.

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gian medical personnel working with the Red Cross deployed voluntarily to Serbia. The latest example of such relations is the Charter of the Honorary Citizen of Belgrade, which I am very honoured to be receiving in September. When it comes to economic relations, Telenor has been a pilot showing other Norwegian companies the way to the Serbian market - not least by spreading a word about the positive sides of doing business in Serbia. The number of Norwegian companies working in Serbia is increasing and I am sure this trend will continue. The economic reforms undertaken by Serbia have made the country attractive to invest in, and this is all the more so as Serbia moves closer to the EuroAtlantic community of countries and thus reduces the perceived risk of investing in Serbia. The Embassy has contributed to this by assisting, together with the Serbian Embassy in Oslo, in the establishment of the Norwegian-Serbian Business Forum, aimed at companies or persons searching for information on how to start doing business or develop their business in Norway or Serbia. ■


NORWAY

Beacon for Freedom of Expression The unification of Norway was achieved in 872AD, the year the Kingdom of Norway was founded, with Harald Fairhair as its first king. From 1319 to 1905, the Kingdom of Norway existed as a union with Denmark, Sweden, or both. The modern Kingdom of Norway has only existed as an independent entity since the dissolution of the personal union with Sweden on 18th November 1905

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oday, Norway is a constitutional monarchy. King Harald V has no real political power, and the parliament, Stortinget, is the country's highest authority. Norway has been a member of NATO since 1949. Voters have twice rejected membership in the European Union, but Norway is a party to a European Free Trade Association agreement. Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the Conservative Party was elected in September 2013 and leads a center-right coalition minority government. Norway is one of the world’s most prosperous countries. Fisheries, metal, and oil are the most important commodities. Norway saves a large portion of its petroleum-sector revenues, including dividends from the partially state-owned Statoil and taxes from oil and gas companies operating in Norway, in its Government Pension Fund–Global, valued at $900 billion. The Norwegian economy’s strong competitiveness is built on openness and transparency with policies that support dynamic trade and investment. The quality of the legal and regulatory framework is among the world’s highest, institutionalizing the effective rule of law. The planned tax reform bill focuses on lowering the corporate income tax rate from 27 per cent to 22 per cent by 2018. It has a mixed economy with the government owning about 32% of the listed shares on the Oslo stock exchange, and holding shares in around 10–15% of Norwegian industry (as of 2005). State ownership is most dominant in the oil, hydroelectric, and mining sectors. At consideraTHEIR MAJESTIES KING HARALD V AND QUEEN ble expense, the government SONJA OF NORWAY

provides subsidies for industry, agriculture, and outlying regions. About half of the total goes to agriculture. The largest revenue sources for Norway are the extraction and export of oil and natural gas from the ocean floor. However, the metal industry, shipping and tourism are also important for the country's economy. It is the world’s third largest exporter of gas and tenth largest exporter of oil. Almost all Norwegian gas is sold on the European market. Norway is the EU’s second largest supplier of energy products (after Russia), including crude petroleum, natural gas and gas liquids. In Norway free expression is a widely accepted and popular idea and has been since censorship was abolished in 1770 but has had intense periods of suppression in the past. Today, Norway clearly allow more transparency and uninterrupted expression more than ever before and more so than in 177 other countries Norway is one of the world’s least corrupt countries, ranked fifth out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. Well-established anti-corruption measures reinforce a cultural emphasis on government integrity. The judiciary is independent, and the court system operates fairly at the local and national levels. Private property rights are securely protected, and commercial contracts are reliably enforced. ■

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COMMENT

Nordic Way Of Life Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland & Iceland are pretty much model students when it comes to ethical living and are also pro at tackling social issues to the bone. They're basically the top badass countries we should all be looking to right now in terms of inspiration, so feel free to take notes on the Nordic way of life...

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innish students have topped all educational scores for more than a decade. Coincidence, you reckon? It’s crazy but true: kids usually don’t spend more than 30 minutes each day on their homework. This leads to happy students getting more freedom to develop independence, practice other skills or simply enjoy life, which ultimately results in scoring higher grades. The perfect balance of work and leisure is the secret recipe for success in Nordic countries. Equality The Nordics were the first in giving women the right to vote. For decades, they have been dedicated to integrating more females into positions of power and although the salary gap is still existent, it’s amongst the lowest in the world. Security is Key No wonder these Northern countries score highly on education, happiness and so much more: citizens have access to a large social safety net which allows them to feel more secure in their daily lives. Sure their taxes are high (approximately 20% of income), but

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let’s look at the benefits most of these countries get as a result of higher taxes… Public schools are free (which means everyone has access to a decent education). Public healthcare is free or relatively cheap depending on the Nordic country. Maternity leave is super generous (up to twelve months), paid AND often shared among the couple (it’s up to them to decide) – we told you they don’t joke about equality. The government helps you get back on track if you lose your job by assisting you financially for a certain period of time (In Denmark for example, it’s 90% of your salary for up to two years). Love of Nature The Nordic regions don’t just get that we have ONE planet earth, they actually act like it too. All 5 nations are in the top 10 eco-friendly countries of the world and it doesn’t surprise anyone. In a nutshell, most of the locals are avid bicycle riders, eco-living advocates and renewable energy users. Mother nature is clearly thankful since every Nordic country resembles a green temple of


wildlife where breath-taking landscapes continually tempt the residents to step outside. Healthy Living Bring it on rain, clouds, snow and thunder – these people can take it all. No matter what the weather these warm-blooded sports fans will hop on their bikes, stretch out for their morning jog, trek in the wild or casually do a wife-carrying competition (you read that right). And when it’s time to relax, a nice steamy sauna is their perfect ritual remedy. This extra hot bath offers real health benefits. Diet wise the Nords are totally on-point with healthy meals, stocking up on fish, vegetables and whole grains for an exemplary diet. Together Life is Better Nordic residents are truly considerate of others and value the social aspects of life by embracing small encounters and taking the time to meet like-minded individuals or their neighbours next door. In Denmark, this way of life has a name of its own : Hygge. Locals use this word to describe a moment spent within a warm, cosy atmosphere with loved ones, which is regarded as essential

to their culture. The main “rule” of Hygge is to be mindful of others and always act with respect – a mentality that should naturally be applied worldwide if you ask us. The Prison System is Geared Towards Low Reoffending Rates Norwegians have cleverly concluded that when prisoners are treated inhumanely they are less likely to adopt a positive lifestyle and attitude once they’re released. For this reason, they treat those in prison fairly and teach them how to live within a community. Prisoners work on a daily basis but during their free time they can take educational or training courses, go fishing or swimming in the summer, practice an instrument, cook for themselves or even watch television. Usually, four to five convicts are placed together in wooden cottages so that they learn how to live in harmony and become more independent. Thanks to all this, Norwegian jails hold the lowest reoffending rates in the whole of Europe because prisoners feel like they can re-integrate into a life of normality more easily. With all this positivity, it’s no surprise Nordics are happy people, live longer and feel safe on a general basis.■

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COMMENT

Nordic Model: A Role Model For Serbia Nordic companies enjoy a good reputation in Serbia. They are visible, and have a footprint due to their habit of sharing knowhow and innovating with local stakeholders. This is something that Nordic companies pride themselves on globally, and Serbia is not an exception ANDREJA PAVLOVIĆ, DIRECTOR,

NORDIC BUSINESS ALLIANCE (NBA) IN SERBIA

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erbia’s business community would benefit greatly in the long term if it nies present is likely to increase. That being said, the challenges that remain are were to adapt Nordic business practices to its own brand of particular of a various nature, though if we were to pick a particular issue that interconnects circumstances and habits, especially considering that the strengths with all facets and sectors in Serbia’s economy it would be unpredictability. Unof the “Nordic business model” lie in the exact areas where Serbia predictability leads to hesitation in decision making on the side of companies that could use support. are looking to invest or expand. If we were to look at it across the board, Nordic companies are usually at In developing countries like Serbia, where the government and societal inthe forefront of their respective branches in terms of standards of quality, busifluences are stronger than in developed markets, unpredictable business facness ethics, competitiveness, social awareness and sustainability. Deconstructtors are a norm, and, as such, represent the main opponents of business. That is why the Nordic Business Alliance is focusing its efforts in this area, proing the base values of the Nordic business culture would be the best way to decipher the way it is already influencing our day to day way of doing business, viding a service to companies looking at Serbia as an option for investment. both in Serbia and beyond. Lines of communication between management and Whether through advising on the mode of entry, explicating the regulatory employees are very often short. Nordic companies take care of their employframework or matchmaking with relevant stakeholders, we are focused on asees – everyone is significant and their voices are worth listening to. Deliberate sessing needs and providing support. and ambitious actions to support sustainable development are integrated at all Business follows business, and as such, having many and lasting success stolevels in the business enterprise. Detailed process analyses in terms of enerries in business provides a country like Serbia with the best brand possible. The Nordic Business Alliance recognises this and is playing its part in promoting Sergy consumption, raw materials, chemical use, recycling etc.; transparency, trust and honesty; a very low level of corruption in international terms. At the same bia by providing a framework through our projects and activities. A good examtime, the main drivers in decision making are a longterm perspective, efficiency and performance. In partnership with the Government of Serbia and the Embassy There are numerous similarities between Serbia of Finland in Belgrade, the NBA is organising the “Nordic and the Nordic countries, which mean that that examInnovative Business in Serbia” event at the Residence of the ples of good practice could be shared and adapted for Ambassador of Finland on 6th September 2016 Serbia’s own business habits and culture without too much effort. Much like Serbia, Nordic countries are all small, open economies in which foreign trade has great economic significance. ple of our efforts in this regard is our next activity. In partnership with the GovernThey have also evolved rapidly from undeveloped, agrarian countries into modern ment of Serbia and the Embassy of Finland in Belgrade, the NBA is organising the industrialised economies that are among the most competitive in the world. Due “Nordic Innovative Business in Serbia” event at the Residence of the Ambassador to the analogy, the “Nordic model” could be a good role model for Serbia to follow, of Finland on 6th September 2016. and the NBA will continue supporting this concept with its efforts. At this event we will address Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and We at the NBA are noticing a stable and continuous improvement of condioffer different innovative proposals for solving challenges and improving comtions in the general business discourse in Serbia. We are witnesses to continuous petitiveness, all with the goal of having a positive impact on the wider business growth of interest and activity coming to Serbia from Nordic companies. This is climate in Serbia. We will use the opportunity to share knowhow, to provide examwhy we will continue providing support and will attempt to assist in overcoming ples of good practice and, finally, to follow up technically with our partners, all with obstacles with even greater effort in the coming period, as the number of compathe goal of making Serbia a better place for doing business. ■

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CORPORATE

A Powerful Dream Our story starts more than decade ago, when two men who had never met shared a powerful dream. Separated by culture, language and nearly 8,000 miles, these two men dreamed of creating a company that would produce and distribute the highest quality mattresses available worldwide at a price that even the most modest of budgets could afford

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oday this company, named “Healthcare”, is present in 42 countries and is successfully delivering the highest quality mattresses, pillows, and toppers from memory foam. We currently produce various types and densities of foam, including special environmentally friendly foam, such as air foam, bounce foam, gel infused and bamboo charcoal infused foam, according to the strictest European and U.S. standards. We produce only the purest and the best quality foam. We are present in Serbia as HealthCare Europe d.o.o. (Ltd.) The company HealthCare Europe d.o.o. was founded in 2012 in Novi Sad as the result of a joint investment by Danish company Everrest and Chinese company HealthCare Co. Ltd, which is the world leader in the production of

memory foam, and as such this investment is of paramount importance for the strengthening of the Serbian economy. The representative office of HealthCare Co. Ltd mainly produces pillows, mattresses and sofas from memory foam. Doubling its growth every year, in 2016 HealthCare Co. Ltd. has been included on the list of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Over the last few years HealthCare has strengthened its position worldwide through the work of its shops and retail brand - MLILY. The MLILY brand delivers the highest quality memory foam mattresses, toppers, pillows and accessories at the best prices available on the Serbian market. Products made from memory foam are absolutely safe. We carry the markings Certi Pur, Oeko Tex, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and BSCI, and from the start we approached production with respect for the highest industry standards and regulations required, including both Serbian and European. ■

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INTERVIEW

Sweden Supports Serbia Becoming an EU Member There are many Swedish investors looking at Serbia, and I hope to convince some to make the actual investment decision H.E. JAN LUNDIN

AMBASSADOR OF SWEDEN TO SERBIA

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here are several regions in Europe that have a high degree of integration and the Nordic region is certainly one of them. Visa free travel has always been possible between the Nordic countries and the vicinity – in geographical, cultural and value terms – has enabled, indeed driven, integration efforts. • What makes the Nordic Region Europe’s most integrated region? - Nordic cooperation has a history of more than 100 years, beginning, if you want, with the agreement in 1914 of the three Kings of Sweden, Denmark and Norway to declare Neutrality during World War I. The Nordic Council, as a venue for parliamentary cooperation, has existed since 1952, and since 1972 impulses to promote deeper Nordic cooperation are given through the Nordic Council of Ministers. It has an annual budget of more than €100 million, and a Secretariat with some 80 employees in Copenhagen. Today we even have co-located and partly integrated Nordic Embassies in some places in the world, e.g. Berlin, and the Nordic countries work closely together in various multilateral contexts.

• To what extent have Swedish governments been able to safeguard the Swedish model during times of global economic slowdown? - The Swedish model is about a strong and competitive trade-orientated private sector, enabling a good social security network operated by an efficient public sector, open to private initiative and business also in traditionally government controlled areas, such as schools and care for the elderly. This is not so different from “models” elsewhere in Europe, including in Serbia, I believe. The Swedish standard of living, as well as life expectancy, is high thanks to a comparatively efficient economy and social system, but we have to constantly develop it and deal with the challenges that come with globalisation. Opening up to private competition through, for example, school vouchers and private tenders of running social care institutions some 15 years ago was in itself a response to globalisation and the need to make schools more efficient. This has created new problems which have to be resolved through additional reforms. • Given that you are fluent in Serbian, do you already feel at home in Belgrade, and what goals will you be pursuing in your new diplomatic post?

• What challenges is the migrant crisis posing when it comes to Swedish attitudes towards the EU and its economy? Sweden fully supports Serbia’s ambition of becoming a - The migrant crisis has indeed been a challenge; during 2015 member of the European Union Sweden received more than 160,000 asylum seekers, which is many times more per capita than, for example, Germany. A - Belgrade is a very special place for me personally, not least since my wife total of 35,000 of those were children coming alone. Therefore the GovernMilica grew up here. Belgrade has throughout history been influenced by ment introduced a number of restrictions on travel to Sweden, as did many many different cultures and has attracted ambitious and creative people. countries through which asylum seekers travelled to reach Sweden. This has Many, including my wife, are also charming and beautiful! greatly reduced the influx of asylum seekers, down to 2,000 people in May. For me, as a chess enthusiast, there are even chess boards in the city parks! The crisis negatively influenced attitudes towards the EU in Sweden, Belgrade has become an excellent tourist destination. judging from some opinion polls at the time. Since the situation has stabilised, those with a pro-EU opinion in Sweden have increased in numbers, howAs to my goals, I represent Sweden, which fully supports Serbia’s ambition of ever. The Swedish Government remains steadfast in its support towards the becoming a member of the European Union. During my years, I and the Embassy shall be focusing on this, not least the challenges in the Rule of Law EU and EU enlargement. We realise that the only way in which challenges field, which is crucial to investor confidence. IKEA shall open its first shop in of the kind posed by large-scale migration can be resolved satisfactorily is Belgrade next year, after many years of hesitation. This is great, but there are through European cooperation and burden sharing. The fact that the Swedish population of nine million is growing by some 100,000 people per year many other Swedish investors looking at Serbia and I hope to convince some has, despite the integration challenges posed, had strong and positive ecoto make the actual investment decision. In the other direction, we would also nomic effects, both short- and long-term. like to see increased Serbian exports to Sweden. ■

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INTERVIEW: KSENIJA PURKOVIĆ, COUNTRY DIRECTOR AT ASTRAZENECA, SERBIA

Health Sector According to The Nordic Recipe Apart from the financial aspect, AstraZeneca can contribute greatly to developing or implementing procedures and processes in the healthcare sector with best practices shared from the Nordic region, which is where healthcare is at its highest

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fter decades of lagging behind in the use of innovative medicines, Serbia is finally launching initiatives to resolve this crucial problem in the health system of Serbia in accordance with international standards.

• AstraZeneca is a multinational pharmaceutical and biotech company, which operates in more than 100 countries worldwide. How do you assess the Serbian market when it comes to the use of innovative medicines for users of health insurance? - Unfortunately, Serbia is specific in terms of its limited access to innovative medications. Compounds that are considered a breakthrough, or offer a unique option for a rare disease, or have even become standards of care in the past few years in Europe, are not widely accessible to patients in this country. Currently there are almost 200 applications, 10 of which are AstraZeneca’s, that are waiting to be considered for reimbursement. This is a lag so worrying that it puts Serbia at the very bottom in terms of access to new medicines compared to other, even neighbouring, countries. However, recently a light appeared at the end of the tunnel when some positive initiatives from the State were seen emerging and we expect improvement in this area in the next several months.

• Pharmaceutical biotechnology is currently one of the key areas in the development of new medicines. In which direction is this area developing at AstraZeneca? - AstraZeneca invests in distinctive science in three main therapy areas: oncology; cardiovascular and metabolic disease; and respiratory and autoimmunity. Our science takes advantage of our rare combination of capabilities in small molecules and biologics, immunotherapies, protein engineering technologies and devices. The most exciting developments are happening in oncology, where AstraZeneca has a broad pipeline of next-generation medicines in principally four disease areas - breast, ovarian, lung and haematological cancers. These are being targeted through four key platforms - immunotherapy, the genetic drivers of cancer and resistance, DNA damage repair, and antibody drug conjugates, underpinned by personalised healthcare and biomarker technologies. • AstraZeneca often gets involved in various CSR activities in Serbia. Which of these activities would you highlight? - Being a pharmaceutical company that’s committed to helping people live longer and healthier lives means that we also have social responsibility. To start with, we’re committed to ethical business practices that affect our pa-

AstraZeneca invests in distinctive science in three main

• In which areas can AstraZeneca help the system to imtherapy areas: oncology; cardiovascular and metabolic prove the quality of healthcare in Serbia, especially in the disease; and respiratory and autoimmunity prevention and treatment of severe illness? - AstraZeneca has been helping in modernising Serbian genetic labs and has just recently contributed to the purchase of a gene setients, our customers and our employees. Furthermore, we believe in equaliquencing machine that is used to identify women with a risk of developing ty to care and are making it easier for people to afford our medicines. In that breast and ovarian cancer. Today the lab performs regular genetic testing for sense, AstraZeneca has made efforts to substantially improve the affordability of its innovative oral antidiabetic products, oral antithrombotic prodboth patients and their immediate family members. uct, and supports patient access programmes, which make cancer therapy Apart from the financial aspect, AstraZeneca can contribute greatly to developing or implementing procedures and processes in the healthcare sectors available to patients. We will always support patients and try to contribute to with best practices shared from the Nordic region, which is where healthcare is the vision of equality in medicine access of patients in Serbia with patients at its highest. We are open to supporting such forms of collaboration and hope in the EU, while also hoping that the appropriate institutions will accelerate this will be recognised and welcomed by the new government. their participation in this great responsibility. ■

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SWEDEN

Free And Open Society From 8,000 BC to 6,000 BC, Sweden as a whole became populated by people who lived by hunting, gathering and fishing, and who used simple stone tools. The Viking Age (800–1050 AD) was characterised by a significant expansion of activity, in Sweden’s case largely towards the east

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oday, there are 9.7 million people in Sweden, of whom about two million are under the age of 18. Eighty-five percent of them live in cities. Sweden is a very multicultural country: 15% of Swedes were born in another country, while about one in five children in Sweden has a family with roots in another country. Less than 3% of Sweden’s land area is built up and forests cover 69% of the country. Sweden is long – some 1,574 kilometers from top to bottom – and can be divided into three major regions: Götaland in the south, Svealand in the middle and Norrland in the north. Sweden is a parliamentary democracy. The Swedish head of state since 1973 has been King Carl XVI Gustaf. He has no political power, but represents the country and performs ceremonial duties. Swedes study and work hard but they also take their rest and relaxation seriously. So the fika – a coffee break that normally consists of coffee or tea, cookies or sweet buns, but can also include soft drinks, fruit and sandwiches – is a social institution and an important part of the national culture. Sweden remains one of the world’s least corrupt countries, ranked fourth on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012. The scope of the term corporate social responsibility (CSR) has expanded dramatically over the years in Sweden and now covers aspects of business operations as diverse as corruption in supply chains and local environmental efforts.

KING CARL XVI GUSTAF

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Swedes hold nature in high esteem, which is one reason why environmental issues are so important. Only 1% of solid waste goes to landfill in Sweden – with the rest recycled or used to produce heat, electricity or vehicle fuel in the form of biogas. Renewable energy sources account for nearly half of Swedish energy production. Swedish environmental technology companies export their green knowhow to the rest of the world in technology areas such as biofuels, bioenergy, windpower, solar power and wastewater treatment. By any measure, Sweden is one of the world’s most innovative nations, and it has been called the most digitally connected economy. Swedes are early adop-

ters of new technology and the country’s non-hierarchical society creates a fertile environment for new ideas. The Swedish government invests a higher proportion of GDP in R&D than most other nations. Generations of innovativeness have led to a long list of world-changing inventions like the three-point seatbelt, the pacemaker, the adjustable wrench and safety matches. More recent Swedish inventions include Spotify and Skype. From Abba to Ingmar Bergman to Avicii, Sweden is a major exporter of culture, and the world’s biggest exporter of pop music in relation to GDP. Another global Swedish hit in recent years has been the so-called Nordic noir literary genre, led by Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson. Look backwards in time and you have cultural heavyweights like Bergman – widely regarded as one of the leading directors in the history of film – and August Strindberg, the respected and highly influential dramatist. ■


INTERVIEW: JOHANNES KJELLGREN, GENERAL MANAGER OF VOLVO TRUCKS FOR THE ADRIATIC SOUTH REGION

Volvo Trucks – Driving Progress With nearly ninety years of truck production experience, renowned quality, scope of production, development and implementation of advanced safety systems, fuel efficiency and cab comfort of trucks, superb after-sales service etc., Volvo Trucks is one of the world's leading brands – says Johannes Kjellgren, General Manager of Volvo Trucks for the Adriatic South Region

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part from its already renowned quality, Volvo is distinguished among commercial vehicle producers for its exceptional care for the safety of drivers, vehicles and all other transportation participants.

support in any part of our continent is also very important, as Volvo Trucks has one of the largest networks of workshop services in Europe. A call to the Volvo Action Service will bring help on the road in the shortest possible time.

• The quality of Swedish goods and services is recognised around the world. What are the main advantages of Volvo trucks compared to other truck producers? - I would like to remind you that Volvo was a pioneer in the development and implementation of a series of safety systems. For example, in 1960 the new Volvo Trucks cab was introduced. This steel structure is unrivalled in terms of safety and comfort. Then, in 1996, Volvo Trucks became the first manufacturer in the world to present a Front Under-Run Protection System as an option for heavy trucks. Volvo Trucks is also a leader in the development of components and systems that ease driving performance and increase transportation efficiency. For example, in 2014 Volvo Trucks launched the first automatic dual-clutch transmission system for heavy vehicles on the market. With dual clutches, the gear changes take place without any interruption in power delivery.

• Taking into consideration that Volvo is selling new and used trucks, and considering the current economic circumstances, what are the advantages that costumers can count on? Volvo trucks are known for their quality, both new and used, so they can expect a quality product that is supported by a great team with expert knowledge. Basically, we support the customers as long as they have their Volvo. • Volvo was a pioneer in reducing exhaust emissions. How is Volvo taking care of the environment? - We are producing environmentally friendly trucks, but we are

• Which benefits can a Volvo customer receive when it comes to workshop services, spare parts and other Volvo The fact that every owner or user of Volvo trucks has support services? full service support in any part of our continent is very - We have several benefits. First of all, you are buying origiimportant, as Volvo Trucks has one of the largest nal parts and services. In Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia we networks of workshop services in Europe have daughter companies of the Volvo Group, which means that we can secure fast delivery of parts and services to also doing many things locally. Probably the most effective is driver training. This our customers. Then, of course, we are offering a two-year warranty on spare is a service that really makes a big difference on the environment, as the driver parts fitted in our workshops, which is quite unique in our industry. As a transport company, you are experts in moving goods between different places in a can influence this to a large extent. Further, this is very attractive for company safe and cost effective way, so why not let Volvo ensure that your truck fleet owners, as it is also saves costs just by training drivers to drive fuel efficiently, spends most of its time on the road and not in the workshop? Here our all-inwhich has a direct impact on the environment. We are constantly developing our clusive Gold Service contract is the perfect match. products and services in an environmentally friendly way and we would like to However, the fact that every owner or user of Volvo trucks has full service represent a sustainable solution for the next generation. ■

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FAROE ISLANDS

The Smallest of Three Autonomous Territories

Fish and wild scenery are characteristic of the Faroe Islands, an island group in the North Atlantic

THORSHAVN

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he Faroe Islands form one of the Nordic Region's three autonomous territories. The 18 large and small islands are linked by tunnels and ferries. The scenery is wild, with steep cliffs, grass-covered hills and sparse forest. At only 1,400km2, the Faroes are the smallest of the three autonomous territories. Out of a total population of 48,500, around 20,000 live in the capital, Thorshavn. The Faroe Islands are formally part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but enjoy extensive autonomy. The parliament, Lagtinget, is the highest authority. The country is not a member of the EU, but has entered into a fisheries and trading agreement with the Union. Fishing is the single most important industry in the Faroe Islands, followed by tourism and wool production. More than 97% of the islands' exports consist of fish produce. ■

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GREENLAND

World's Largest Island The inhabitants of Greenland originate from Central Asia. The country is part of the North American continent, but geopolitically the island is part of Europe

ÅLAND

The Archipelago With 6,757 Islands Åland consists of 6,757 islands situated midway between Sweden and Finland. Although the people of Åland speak Swedish, this autonomous territory is part of Finland

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he archipelago is largely made up of coastal rock slopes and heather moorland, and has large areas of pine forests. Only about nine per cent of Åland is arable land. It is the smallest of the three Nordic autonomous territories with a population of 28,000. One third of the population lives in the capital, Mariehamn. The official language is Swedish. Åland is part of the Republic of Finland but has its own devolved parliament. In devolved policy areas it acts as a nation in practice. Åland is also a demilitarised and neutral zone. Lagtinget, the Åland Parliament, is the highest authority. Åland is a member of the EU and the currency is the euro, but its relationship to the EU is regulated in a special protocol: to maintain the important tax free sales on the ships which sail between Finland and Sweden, Åland remains outside the VAT area. Major sources of income on Åland are shipping and ferry services, tourism and the processing of agriculture and fisheries products. ■

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reenland is the world's largest island and almost eighty per cent of this self-governed area is covered by an ice cap and many glaciers. The ice-free area is still almost as large as the whole of Sweden but only a very small part of this is arable land.

Greenland has less than 57,000 inhabitants of whom about 15,000 live in the capital Nuuk. Greenland is part of the kingdom of Denmark but has a great degree of self-government, which will be further expanded in 2009. This does, however, not include affairs of state which include foreign and security policy and foreign exchange policy. Greenland is not a member of the EU, but has a special fisheries agreement and was accepted as one of the overseas countries and territories with special association with the EU. Sealing and whaling, fishing and hunting are the predominant sources of income in Greenland. The country also has a growing income from tourism as well as some mining. ■

NUUK, THE CAPITAL OF GREENLAND


ICELAND

Fire. Ice... And Football

Iceland travelled to Euro 2016 as the smallest nation ever to reach a major tournament – not bad going for a lump of volcanic rock halfway to the Arctic with a population the size of the Belgrade municipality of Vračar. But that was not the end of the story...

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t is a dream come true for us. We have grown up watching the Engplays the game. Everyone watches it. Iceland’s indoor football halls are a lish Premier League, and we have always wanted to play against wondrous spectacle: synthetic bubbles plonked down in the tundra-like England. We may not have players who all play for Barcelona and suburbs. But this is also a brittle kind of place, all shifting plates and sudden Real Madrid, but we beat England. Our faith and belief is what took spurts of activity. Nobody really seems particularly disturbed, or surprised, us so far – and some Icelandic pride. We do not back down from anyone, and by the idea that all this progress might not last. “We were very interested in that team spirit and belief helps us a lot,” said Ragnar Sigurdsson, the best banking, too,” is one slightly caustic observation. Iceland player speaking after the game against England. And yet here they are all the same. It is an Icelandic trait to take some small Here they come, the Icelanders. Offspring of elves and Vikings, from the task and essentially do it to death. Some say this mentality comes from the Iceland of social justice and sustainable power: Iceland always seems to be fishing traditions, a kind of survival machismo, the need to sit through every millimetre of briny discomfort until the catch is full. “When an Icelandic person is per capita kings, a place where nothing is wasted, only reproduced. destined to do something, they generally follow through,” Rafnsson says. “Some And now they’ve got football as well. Ranked 133rd in the world four years ago, the national team have risen a hundred places under Lars Lagerback, propeople would call it a disease. Sometimes you don’t even know when to stop.” gress given a compelling narrative form by the money and care poured into the After the match Iceland lost to former world champions and tournament game at the grassroots during the prehosts, France, thus ending their participation in EURO 2016, all French bust years, when the country had more spectators were relieved to welcome the victory of their team, but also to cash than it knew how to spend. This pay their respects to the talent, perseverance, courage and fighting spirit summer Iceland travelled to France as of the entire national squad of Iceland the smallest nation ever to reach a major tournament, not bad going for a lump of There seems to be a kind of hive-mind tendency here too. No doubt, volcanic rock halfway to the Arctic with a population of just over 300,000. but above all an indication of those dutiful collective habits Icelanders There is still an essential weirdness to this collective overachievement. have in their genes. Football has burrowed its way into the peat here and taken hold. Everyone

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ICELAND

In the past 15 years football became Here they come, the Icelanders. Offspring of elves and Vikings, from the an institutional obsession, seeded Iceland of social justice and sustainable power: Iceland always seems to be from the top down through the government, the FA and schools and individuper capita kings, a place where nothing is wasted, only reproduced…There als. For now the wheels are still turning, seems to be a kind of hive-mind tendency here too. No doubt, but above all an the production lines thrumming. At indication of those dutiful collective habits Icelanders have in their genes Euro 2016 the national team performed a miracle that wowed the entire world! And that brings us to Iceland as the smallest country at Euro 2016 and the biggest story. There may never have been a national cultural event as all-encompassing as Euro 2016 was for Iceland. Almost 10 per cent of the population travelled to France to support the team, and 99.8 per cent of Icelanders are reported to have watched the win over England. Iceland has commanded international headlines three times in the last 10 years. In 2008 they amazed the world with the spectacular scale of their banking crisis; in 2010 one of their volcanoes caused a shutdown of air travel throughout swathes of the Northern Hemisphere; and in 2016 they qualified for the quarterfinals of Euro 2016. After the match Iceland lost to former world champions and tournament hosts, France, thus ending their participation in EURO 2016, all French spectators were relieved to welcome the victory of their team, but also to pay their respects to the talent, perseverance, courage and fighting spirit of the entire national squad of Iceland. ■

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NORDIC DESIGN

Maximum Style With Minimum Fuss

Scandinavian design is a term to represent a design movement characterised by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the 1950s in the five Nordic countries of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. While the term Scandinavia only refers to the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, it can be used colloquially to refer to all five of these countries

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aximum style with minimum fuss is what Scandinavian/Nordic interior design is all about. Simplicity and function are the guiding principles that have shaped the design sensibilities of Nordic Europe, resulting in spaces suffused with light, airiness, serenity and a feeling of oneness with nature. A mélange of trends from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, Scandinavian interior design principles play up natural elements, favour neutral colour palettes, keep lines simple and squeeze optimal function out of every part of the décor. The simple chic of this fuss-free style has won converts the world over.

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Scandinavian interior design took the world by storm after the 1947 edition of the Triennale di Milano, a popular design exhibition in the Italian city of Milan. Furniture, glassware and home accessories from the Nordic countries were a sensation at the show and became a rage around the world soon after. Capitalising on this new popularity, the Design in Scandinavia show travelled across the U.S. and Canada from 1954 through 1957. Fascination with Scandinavian design ideas grew even more as a result. It’s interesting how differently Scandinavian trends evolved from design in the rest of Europe, which generally favored opulent and ornate décor inspired by the luxurious lifestyles of aristocracy and royalty. The Nor-


dic people charted a different design course, preferring the practical to the plush, picking function over frills. Life in the region was primarily responsible for shaping Scandinavian design. Long, harsh winters with very few hours of daylight kept people indoors for many months. Besides, most people lived in small houses. So it was imperative to make homes feel cozy yet airy, with every object in it reflecting as much ambient light as possible. Quite like the people, the emerging design sensibility was egalitarian, shunning the ornate and celebrating simple elegance that seemed accessible to all. The result was a style that masterfully combined beauty with practicality. Though the popularity of Scandinavian design waned somewhat in the 1980s, it soared again in the following decade when the style was reinterpreted. The 1990s saw designers in Scandinavian countries treating every object they fashioned for use in décor as individual units of design, creating bold and unique statement pieces. “Less is more,” wrote poet Robert Browning in the 19th century. He couldn’t have known then that he was unwittingly encapsulating the very essence of a design trend that would take shape in the Scandinavian re-

gion almost a hundred years later. A one-word definition of Scandinavian interior design would be minimalism. A quite noticeable trend in recent seasons concerns the Nordic style, which is increasingly appreciated and interpreted by many interior designers. The true Nordic home is itself a blend of various styles: it has a minimalist Swedish imprint, the romantic allure of Danish design, and the play on black and white contrasts typical of Finnish houses. The result: an environment that combines practicality, aesthetics and the well-being of its inhabitants. The Northern European countries teach us a lot about how to use light, and materials that allow you to capture and radiate it within a space. The Nordic design is highly complex, precisely because it is generally disguised in items of great simplicity, which has made it popular and widely present in our homes, giving a touch of comfort blended with elegance. Light, bright colours, simple and minimal lines…won’t everything be just a little “cold”? Not if combined with wood, the quintessential warm material. With a simple juxtaposition of two different souls the magic is made. A key principle of the true Nordic style is the respect for the environment, through the use of recycled raw materials which are in turn recyclable. ■

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Nordic Countries - Challenges and Opportunities