In the past two years, Diplomacy&Commerce magazine has given to its readers abundance of news from politics, business and culture, has reported on the opinions of relevant stakeholders both from Serbia and abroad, covering all segments of life, and opened up topics that were not written or talked about enough. With its latest issue, Diplomacy&Commerce is celebrating its second anniversary in Serbia. We are very proud of the fact that, in two years and 24 issues, we have managed to interview the leaders of the Serbian political, business and diplomatic community, as well as the renowned regional and the global public figures. In these past 24 issues, we have also published special supplements dedicated to overall relations between Serbia and European and world countries.
We have asked Serbian officials – Serbian PM, government ministers, ambassadors and representatives of business associations in Serbia – to give us their opinions about the most important changes that Serbia should make in order to become an EU member, and about the investment climate in the West Balkan region.
1. What do you think are essentially the most important changes that Serbia should make in order to be ready for EU membership by 2025?
2. Do Serbia and the Western Balkans have enough capacity to attract large multi-nation companies to their markets?
Apart from what is, undoubtedly, the most important political issue, namely the normalization of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, the progress that we have achieve in the rule of law segments carries equal weight. I am not referring here only to the measures foreseen in the action plans for chapters 23 and 24, but their full implementation and introduction to our practice and lives. This should be done not only for the sake of the individual rights and freedoms, but also because of the importance that legal security has for all those who invest or intend to invest in our country. Additionally, the fight against corruption that brings very clear results and the security of individuals and property are both guarantees that go hand in hand with the strong positioning of the rule of law. If all of this is missing, there is no good lasting process or any other reforms. This is why I consider this change the most important, but not only with the EU accession in mind, but also because of our life and work in Serbia.
2. There are several important prerequisites that we need to meet in order for the region and its individual countries to be more appealing to big market players. First and foremost, we must understand that our individual markets are small and that only connectivity can create an area of at least 20 million consumers, which is not negligible. Connectivity means networking, i.e. Interconnection, traffic, energy, digital… If there is no connectivity,
there is no interest from multinational companies. Last but not least, the progress we make in the EU accession is a point of connection that makes our region more competitive than others.