In an exclusive column for the Pavlovic Today, new Serbian Ambassador to the US, Marko Djuric, writes about Serbia’s strong partnership with the US.
This year marks an important anniversary for The United States and Serbia: 140 years have passed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two great nations.
In 1881, when just a handful of modern countries even existed (slightly more than two dozen, at the time), our two nations were already exchanging envoys, trading, and signing international treaties, some of which are still in place to this very day. Through both World Wars, relations between Serbia and The United States remained steadfast, as millions of Serbs fought alongside Americans for values held in common by the two peoples.
Freedom-loving, like Americans, millions of Serbian people, forced by hardship at home and motivated by freedom, have made their way to the United States of America over the years. Here, they’ve enriched history.
Their names are now engraved in the hallway of the American dream. Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current electricity, which we all use every day. Pupin, the inventor of long-range wireless telecommunications. NBA’s Vlade Divac and Nikola Jokic, to name a few. Them, along with many thousands of Serbian doctors, nurses, engineers, construction workers, and university professors who gave their contribution to the American nation, became a part of it, and made it a better place.
During the past 140 years, our countries have been treading along a common path. ? path that was rocky and challenging at times, especially during the nineteen-nineties, but it was and still remains a path of a long partnership, crucial alliances, and common values we share.
Serbs are, in my opinion, in terms of mentality, more similar to Americans than many other European nations. I would go out on a limb to say probably more similar than we are ready to admit ourselves, even though Serbia’s neighboring countries may be geographically closer.
After three decades of internal, self-inflicted suffering in the face of the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia finally has a good thing going on. I write these lines hopeful that we will be able not only to be a part of this momentum, but also to capitalize on this.
Due to comprehensive reforms devised and implemented by President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia was able, in just seven years, to rise from the verge of bankruptcy. Precisely from a budget deficit rate of 6.4% of GDP and an unemployment rate of 26.7% in 2014 to to the first place in Europe, in terms of GDP growth in quarters 1, 2, and 3 of 2020. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has been reduced to 7.9%, with a steady three-year surplus and macroeconomic stability which is repeatedly praised by relevant IFO indicators and top executives.
Along with abundant incentives for foreign investors, this has led to Serbia becoming a destination that has attracted more foreign direct investments in 2019 and 2020 than the entire Western Balkan region combined.
Having just arrived in Washington DC a couple of weeks ago, I’ve learned already that a restaurant that serves Serbian cuisine and drinks has been ranked as one of the most popular restaurants in DC. Our national cuisine reflects the warmth of Serbian spirit and hospitality.
I invite you to embark with me and my new, enlarged team at the Serbian Embassy in DC on a worthy journey of transforming a long standing partnership between Serbia and the United States into something even more meaningful and substantial.
A new relation that will let us continuously discover new areas of cooperation in promoting peace and stability in our part of the world, a relation that will provide new economic opportunities from the nail pin of Southeastern Europe. Our 140th anniversary is a remarkable historical jubilee not many countries can boast about. I believe I am not exaggerating when I say that the stars are aligned for us to take part in the opening of a new, unprecedented chapter of mutually beneficial friendship and cooperation.
From here on, onwards and upwards, my friends.