In the presence of Vice President of the Aragon Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Maria Lopez, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic presented a document to Mr. Juan Carlos Trillo Biagori, confirming his appointment as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia in Zaragoza, with consular jurisdiction over the Autonomous Region of Aragon.
During a brief conversation, the interlocutors agreed that the establishment of the Consulate of Serbia headed by an Honorary Consular Officer, with a seat in Zaragoza, would significantly enhance economic cooperation and Serbia’s visibility in Zaragoza and Aragon.
After signing the Register of honorary guests of the Aragon Chamber of Commerce, Minister Dacic addressed more than 300 attending representatives of the commercial elite of Aragon, highlighting the potentials, reforms and the policy of the Republic of Serbia.
Following is the integral text of the address by Minister Dacic delivered on the occasion
“Esteemed Vice President of the Zaragoza Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Madam Lopez,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the pleasure to address you today, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my own, and to welcome you and thank you for accepting the invitation to attend the formal ceremony of establishing the Consulate of the Republic of Serbia in Zaragoza, headed by the Honorary Consul, Mr. Juan Carlos Trillo Biagorri.
I am pleased to underline that our two countries and peoples have been fostering friendly and very good relations for an entire century. I wish to emphasize that the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Spain will continue the observance of the centenary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 1916. During this period, many of our well-known writers, poets, musicians, artists and athletes have visited or lived in Spain. I would like to point out in particular that our renowned writer and diplomat Jovan Ducic served in Madrid from 1919 – 1922, and that our Nobel Prize laureate Ivo Andric was a diplomat in the Spanish capital, from 1928 – 1929.
People of the Republic of Serbia have an active interest in the Spanish culture and language, significantly prompted by the opening of the Servantes Institute in Belgrade in 2004, attended – to our great pleasure, by the then Prince, current King of Spain Felipe VI.
It is the desire and commitment of the Republic of Serbia to continue to foster and promote its close ties with the Kingdom of Spain in all areas of mutual interest. This was confirmed in my talks with President of the Congress House of Representatives Ana Pastor and my Spanish colleague Alfonso Dastis, during my visit to the Kingdom of Spain, on 8 June 2017, when full alignment of positions was noted regarding the respect of the principles of international law and territorial integrity of states, as well as that excellent political relations are giving an impetus to the advancement of economic, educational and cultural cooperation.
May I take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the principled and consistent position of the Kingdom of Spain regarding non-recognition of the unilateral declaration of independence of “Kosovo”.
We highly appreciate the active and strong support offered by the Kingdom of Spain to the European integration of the Republic of Serbia, which is one of our key foreign policy objectives.
Given the potentials of our two countries, one of Serbia’s priorities in its relations with the Kingdom of Spain is to intensify economic cooperation and increase Spanish investments in the Republic of Serbia, for which an excellent foundation are the strong ties based on the friendship between the two peoples. Additionally, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has carried out a number of activities aimed at creating a favourable climate for business and investments. The adoption of relevant laws and regulations has made, among other things, a maximum contribution to simplifying and reducing administrative procedures for issuance of permits, while the Republic of Serbia has also given guarantees for foreign investments, thus vastly improving the climate for attracting new investments.
Serbia plays host to more than 20 Spanish companies, which are pleased with their business performance and the business climate. Spanish fashion brands are leaders on the Serbian market, while Spanish construction companies operating in transport infrastructure are known for their quality. I am particularly pleased to point out that trams, produced by CAF, Zaragoza factory, are running along the streets of our capital, Belgrade, popularly referred to by my fellow Belgraders as “espanol”. Since trade in goods between our countries amounted to some 400 million euro, in the framework of which trade with Aragon totalled 14 million euro, you will agree that there is room and mutual need for improving our economic cooperation in this segment.
In this context, I anticipate that the establishment of the Consulate of the Republic of Serbia headed by an Honorary Consular Officer, with consular jurisdiction including the territory of the Autonomous Region of Aragon, will give an additional impulse to intensifying and expanding cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Spain, particularly in the areas of trade, investment, tourism, culture, education, science and technology. The work and activity of the Honorary Consular Officer of the Republic of Serbia in Zaragoza will improve sharing of mutual information, strengthen the ties between the two peoples and the quality of consular protection. The activities of the Honorary Consul will be focused on the further development of economic and cultural ties, and particularly on cooperation among regions and cities of the two countries, to the effect of advancing inter-state relations and all-round cooperation.
Against the backdrop of the Honorary Consul’s personality, the fact that the relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Spain are friendly and unburdened by outstanding issues, it is our expectation that Mr. Biagorri’s priority activities will be to further strengthen economic cooperation, and cooperation in the fields of tourism and development of cultural and sports ties between the two countries.
May I further recall many names in the realm of sports of those who have given an important contribution to the development of Spanish sports, such as Radomir Antic, a player and coach of the Zaragoza Football Club; Rasa Popovic, a coach of the Zaragoza Football Club: Ranko Zeravica, Zaga Zeravica, and many others.
The institution of honorary consuls in the Republic of Serbia has a vast tradition and plays an important role in diplomatic/consular relations. Currently, the Republic of Serbia has 70 honorary consuls in foreign countries, whereas in the Kingdom of Spain, in addition to the Canary Islands, Serbia will also have an Honorary Consul in Zaragoza. The Republic of Serbia is hosting 25 foreign consulates headed by honorary consuls. They are predominantly representatives of the business world, prominent lawyers, professors, cultural workers, etc. As a rule, they are of a high academic standing, respected in their own communities, and have accepted, on a voluntary basis and with the best of intention, to discharge these responsible duties.
I am confident that the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia in Zaragoza, Mr. Biagorri, will contribute to the promotion of dialogue on issues of common interest, as well as to the establishment of closer ties and cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Spain.
Esteemed Mr. Biagorri, may I wish you, once again, every success in your work.