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?
Do Serbia and the Western Balkans have enough capacity to attract large multi-nation companies to their markets?
We agree with the people of Serbia that EU membership is the right path for Serbia’s future and will continue to support the decision of the Serbian Government to pursue membership. The European Commission’s Strategy for the Western Balkans is goodnews for Serbia. It’s an opportunity– a path and a target date for membership, an indication that Serbia and Montenegro are frontrunners, and most importantly a statement that the EU sees Serbia as part of its European family. The strategy is also tough love. Serbia has work to do, particularly regarding regional relations, rule of law, public administration, and media freedom. These are challenges, but they are not insurmountable. Serbia can count on America as a partner in this process.
Many U.S. Companies obviously think so. They have made significant financial commitments in order to conduct business in Serbia. They see the high-quality workforce and economic opportunities and have invested accordingly. There have been U.S. investments of almost $4 billion since 2000, and U.S. firms in Serbia now employ over 18,000 people. U.S. Companies are good partners and job creators. Helping these companies to succeed is important for Serbia’s future – success stories and a transparent and welcoming business environment in Serbia are the best marketing tools to attract additional U.S. and other international investors.