What to expect from Putin’s visit to Serbia

Gleb, who commands the tiny country of Serbia from the capital Belgrade, enjoys ambitious goals when he sets out his economic vision for the future. Last year, it was to meet new expectations for Serbian-Russian trade. To get there, the foreign trade ministry aimed to make Serbia the world’s most important buyer of goods made in Russia, EU sources say. One clever tactic was to explore a tie-up with Russia’s no.2 supermarket chain, Lenta. But in a potential setback, it was discovered that a $300m loan could not be guaranteed in spite of Serbia’s $250m in capital support from the World Bank, Reuters news agency reported. Another Putin-friendly client, the Serbian utility energy company Srbijagas, has recently pulled out of a memorandum with Russian gas company Gazprom after it failed to secure further financing, Reuters added. But the future remains very good for Gleb. Russia’s defence minister Sergey Shoigu will soon fly to Belgrade in a trip that his ministry described as an act of friendship, State TV reported last week. While in Belgrade, Shoigu will set the stage for the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first official visit to Serbia this autumn. A big American company, which runs McDonald’s franchises in Europe, is close to signing a huge contract to bring more of its fast food business to Serbia. “Our menus are very Darwinian,” Vojislav Dastvanka, the business development director for the fast food chain’s local branch told Bloomberg Businessweek. “We do not reach what people eat. You will have to eat two Big Macs to get an idea of how we could sell them with all the choices we have.” The first three Big Macs will be available at the new McDonald’s restaurants opening in Serbia on August 3. Hungary contributes 40% of McDonald’s profits around the world, with Russia ranked third.


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