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 capacityto attract large multi-nation companies to their markets?
ANA BRNABIĆ, Serbian Prime Minister: BUILDING INSTITUTIONS AND RULE OF LAW
The government’s main goal is to build its institutions which is equally important for the citizens of Serbia, the economy and the business environment. The EU’s strategy for the Western Balkans is a positive sign for the entire region. We are continuing to implement reforms, procedures and anti-bureaucracy measures, with the aim of creating a country that is a partnerto the private sector – says the Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić for Diplomacy & Commerce magazine.
In order to be successful in the EU accession process, it is important that we have excellent organization and coordination at both the central and local level, as well as a cooperation with civil society and businesses in the implementation of reforms. Our main goal is to build institutions that will be the guarantor of the implementation of the rule of law. This is very important for the Serbian citizens, the economy and the business environment. This is precisely why working on chapters 23 and 24 is the priority for the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The Ministry of European Integration has been established with the purpose of enabling better work coordination and more economical use of resources at our disposal. The Ministry is working on programming IPA funds and on preparing the society for the use of EU funds. The recently presented EU Strategy for the Western Balkans is a positive sign for the entire region, while better quality of life for all citizens of Serbia is the key goal that guides us.
Multinational companies, with some of them being on the prestigious Fortune 500 list, are already operating in Serbia. They have recognized the safe macroeconomic environment and the Serbian government’s commitment to the continuous improvement of the business environment. Owing to that effort, we had upwards of 2.6 billion EUR of foreign direct investments in Serbia last year. We are creating a country that is a partner to the private sector. We are facilitating procedures and reducing bureaucracy. We are transforming the Tax Administration to become more efficient. We are continuing to fight against shadow economy and we are creating the prerequisites for fair market competition. The new co-operation with the IMF will
signal that we are committed to preserving macroeconomic stability and focusing on a higher GDP growth in the coming years, which is another good indicator for investors.