In his opening statement, the Serbian Prime Minister spoke about the Government’s achievements in 2016, but also priorities in 2017, external factors that impact on our situation, but also internal strengths and resources that make us strong
Nobody should be worried about the future of Serbia, because it now has a stable economic situation, which is founded on orderly public finances. The situation in the world is complicated, complex in both political and economic terms. The situation in Serbia is complicated, but with better prospects and a more attractive outlook, said the Prime Minister.
ALSO FORECASTING GDP GROWTH
“I would first and foremost like to congratulate you on the organisation of this gathering, and on the topics you have selected. There is absolutely no doubt that Novi Sad will look very different and even more beautiful in 2021, not only in the construction sense, but also in every other sense, because I have heard there has been an emergence of new energy, new optimism.”
Commenting on the organisers’ conclusions that the forecasts of last year’s conference, “The World in 2016” were wrong, in terms of the U.S. elections and Brexit, the Prime Minister drew attention to the success of the Government and Serbia’s GDP growth in 2016: “Last year when I had the pleasure of welcoming you to this conference, there was one thing that I correctly predicted, despite the forecasts of the IMF and the World Bank, and that was GDP growth of between 2.5 and 3%. It is important what we can change with ourselves and what we can expect. I’m not an expert on world issues and I’ve never attached myself to that kind of significance of being well acquainted with what relations are like between the U.S. and Russia. In Serbia there is always a sufficient number of people who have an understanding of that. I will analyse our economy and the extent to which it is conditioned by other countries,” said the Prime Minister, addressing the audience.
WORLD TRENDS AND CRISIS IN THE EU
As he explained, in the next year we will have additional political problems. The economic crisis at the level of the EU is continuing. “We will quickly, but not quickly enough, catch up with those countries that are ahead of us. When it comes to preserving political stability, and here I mean the situation in the region, I would say that risks exist, but through our friendly relations in the region, from Albania to Croatia, we will try to build stronger and more stable relationships. If we cannot do better, then at least we cannot do worse than until now,” said the PM.
The Prime Minister gave his opinions about the impact of political and economic conditions in the world on our further development, and in this context he noted that one seemingly minor detail had a great impact on developments in Serbia. Namely, the U.S. Federal Reserve increased the benchmark interest rate by one per cent, the dollar strengthened and our debt immediately increased by 80 million euros: “One little thing, which resulted in the faster growth of the U.S. economy, and which is a very good thing for them, in our balance sheet showed as an increase in liabilities,” noted Vučić, though he also added that we are on a good path, one that is safer than many other countries.
GROWTH IN 2017
The Prime Minister highlighted that in Europe he sees a different distribution of power and that new source of growth can be seen, which exist in the countries of Eastern Europe, while in the countries of so-called Old Europe there is a slower rate of growth, because these are, of course, developed countries. “As far as economic growth in 2017 is concerned, growth at the level of EU is slowing, as is global growth that is projected at the level of 2.4%, which means that Serbia will have higher growth than the global average. That is not enough, however, because we are lagging far behind. We reached the level of 2008 in 2015 and now we’re going to continue with growth. A lot depends on us, how we can change ourselves, how we can restructure public enterprises. Only order and discipline can bring us a result,” added the PM.
EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON US AND OUR DISCIPLINE
The Prime Minister concluded at the end of his address that the only question is whether we can maintain seriousness, whether we can behave responsibly, and if we cannot then we’re going to lose the battle, as we have many times before. “We are on a good path, perhaps a safer one than others. If we are responsible enough and smart enough, we will certainly succeed. The situation in the world is complicated, complex and tough; in Serbia it is complicated, but with better prospects in 2017 than could be said for the world in general. Everything depends on us, on our work and our discipline; we have excellent parameters and we are on an excellent track, and we must behave responsibly,” concluded the PM.