• 13:17
  • 21.08.2017
Julie Bishop eyes Serbian pension deal

Julie Bishop eyes Serbian pension deal

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Australia and Serbia are negotiating a reciprocal pension deal between the two countries as they seek to develop closer diplomatic and trade ties.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in the capital Belgrade yesterday to continue negotiations on the deal, which would see each country pay reciprocal pension and welfare entitlements for each other’s citizens.
Australia already has a number of similar social security agreements with countries where significant numbers of expatriates live in Australia, including with the UK and Greece.
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Serbia and Australia also reached agreement to recognise each other’s driving licenses as they seek to strengthen ties.

The eastern European nation, which is working towards becoming a member of the EU, is expanding its international reach, and has attracted the interest of several Australian mining companies, including Rio Tinto, which is exploring lithium mining potential.
The University of Sydney has also partnered with Serbia’s Institute of Archaeology on a major excavation project on a set of significant Roman ruins.
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Ms Bishop visited Serbia as part of a trip through eastern Europe which also took in Croatia and Macedonia.
She met new Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, a trailblazer who at the age of 41 years is Serbia’s first female and first openly-gay prime minister.
Ms Bishop said there were 20,000 Serbians living in Australia, while another 60,000 cited Serbian heritage.
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She said Australia wanted a deeper and closer engagement with Serbia.
“Australia is reaching out to countries with whom we have common cause and Serbia is a democracy, it has democratic institutions and values, it values free markets,’’ she said.
“We have a common outlook and it’s very important in times of international uncertainty that countries that share similar views should publicly advocate those views.’’
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Ms Bishop said Australia was the “most successful multicultural nation in the world.’’
“We have welcomed to Australia waves of immigrants over many decades and they have, in the main, integrated very successfully into Australian society while maintaining their culture, their heritage and often their language.
“That makes us a stronger nation as a result.’’
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