Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović spoke with US Ambassador Christopher Hill about economic relations between the two countries, energy infrastructure development, regional connectivity, energy transition, new US investment and improving the business environment in Serbia.
Mihajlović observed that 140 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the United States show partnership and friendship, and that important steps have been taken in the past few years to improve economic cooperation, such as the construction of the Moravian corridor, the first project whose main contractor is American.
As she pointed out, Serbia is in an early phase of the energy transition and we need new capacity, primarily in the electricity sector, because we have not built any for 35 years and still get more than 70% of our energy from coal.
She said the investment priorities are new plants, greater energy efficiency and diversification in the gas sector.
“Today, Serbia is a politically and financially stable country, open to investment and committed to dialogue, economic connections and cooperation”, said Mihajlović, adding that there was room for engaging US companies in new projects.
She expressed confidence that for future cooperation with the United States it would be very useful to have a strategic partnership agreement, such as those we already have with the Russian Federation, China, France, Italy, the UAE, Azerbaijan and Hungary. This would create a framework for further improvement in relations and for joint projects.
“We want to develop the best possible economic relations and to have even more American companies operating in our country”, the Deputy Prime Minister emphasized.
Hill said that cooperation in the field of energy will affect the development of relations between the two countries, and that the United States wants to deepen relations with Serbia at all levels – political, economic and energy, and to continue working more intensively to improve cooperation.
“A strategic partnership agreement would greatly facilitate joint projects, especially in the energy sector where speed is important, to develop projects in line with technological advances and increase energy security”, explained the US ambassador.
The meeting also dealt with diversification in the gas sector, construction of energy infrastructure, the need for new energy capacity and energy security, especially in light of the crisis in Ukraine.