As we approach the end of 2019, the BSCC is in optimistic mood. The decisive victory of Boris Johnson's Conservative Party in the recent UK elections removes the fundamental Brexit uncertainty. Perhaps even more importantly, the continuation of broadly pro-market and pro-business policies is assured. Certainly, there remain open questions about the nature of Britain's future trading relationships with both the EU and the rest of the world, but we can be confident that beneath the noise, solutions will be found which enable British business to adapt and flourish. Crucially for us, the U.K. will have a strong incentive to increase effort towards non-EU markets such as Serbia and the wider Western Balkans.
Serbia will face its own general election in 2020 but, whatever the outcome, we can expect a continued appetite to strengthen international trade and investment relationships, providing new opportunities for our members. Despite the understandable disappointment in the region at this year's setbacks to the EU accession process, the EU continues to invest in the Western Balkan's European future, improving infrastructures and competitiveness. Moreover, the "WB6" governments and businesses work closely together to an extent which would have been unimaginable a few weeks ago. This significantly enhances the size and coherence of the available market and provides new opportunities in sectors from construction and real estate to IT and consumer goods.
The BSCC is focused on supporting our members to take advantage of these opportunities. Our membership has grown over the past few months and I am looking forward to welcoming new members, large and small, in the New Year. I am delighted to have met many of our members since I joined BSCC in the summer and have seen that our contribution - from events and networking opportunities to tailored advice and services - can make a real difference and is increasingly valued.
My ambition for BSCC is simple: that every business working between Serbia and the UK will want to be a member and that we will encourage new companies from both countries to explore and gain from the market. We're planning events in Belgrade and London early in 2020. Come and get involved with us!
Whether you celebrate on 25 December/1 January or 6/13 January, my warmest wishes to you and your families for Christmas and the New Year.
David Landsman OBE MA PhD CDir
British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce