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During December 2020, several discussions were held on the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and its recovery opportunities. Discussions were held through the “Zoom” platform within the Annual Seminar program, which the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence has been implementing for 17 years in cooperation with the Council of Europe.

The first in a series of topics related to the economic consequences of the pandemic was opened with a discussion about the impact that Covid-19 had on service activities, both in Serbia and in the region. The discussion was held on December 8th.

Our interlocutors were Petar Vojinovic, founder and editor of the aviation portal Tango Six, and Georgi Genov, director of the Business Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs of Serbia, while professor Marina Savkovic from Singidunum University moderated the discussion.

Participants and alumni of the Annual Seminar had the opportunity to get an overview of the situation when it comes to the aviation industry and the tourism sector – how Covid-19 affected these sectors, how they coped with the challenges of the pandemic and what they expect in the future.

On December 10th, the second online session was held as part of the Annual Seminar. This time the topic was regional cooperation as an opportunity for recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. Speakers at the second session were Miroslav Knezevic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of the Republic of Serbia, and John Jovanovic, DFC Director for the Western Balkans and the Aegean. Executive director of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Marko Savkovic, moderated this.

There was a discussion about the current situation in the tourism sector, as well as about what awaits Serbia in the future – will domestic and regional tourism be in focus? Also, the participants talked with their interlocutors about economic cooperation in the region as the only way to prosperity and facing the challenges that this crisis has brought.

On Wednesday, December 16th, the last two online discussions were held as part of the Annual Seminar dedicated to the economic consequences of the pandemic and opportunities for recovery. This time, the participants and alumni talked with Dusan Reljic, Director of the Office of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) about the European perspective of the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic – the consequences that await Europe and the Western Balkans, what are the mechanisms that will be applied to mitigate the consequences and what will be the EU’s role in recovery, both economically and politically. Ana Suvalija Pesic, a journalist from the Radio Television of Serbia, led the discussion.

At the second session, with Zarko Sunderic, Director of the Center for Social Policy and Mensur Haliti from the Office for Roma Initiatives of the Open Society Foundation, a discussion was held on the situation of vulnerable groups during the Covid-19 pandemic with special reference to the Roma population in Serbia and the region. Also, in addition to the consequences, there was talk about possible solutions and plans for the future.

Sonja Licht, president of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, moderated the conversation.

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