H.E. LEO D’AES, Belgian Ambassador to Serbia: GRADUALLY CLOSER TO THE EU

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?

  1. Do Serbia and the Western Balkans have enough capacity to attract large multi-nation companies to their markets?

1. From the most recent communication of the EU Commission on Enlargement, on 6th February 2018, I would highlight the following changes: The rule of law must be significantly strengthened in a number of essential fields such as the independence of the judiciary, anti-corruption, public procurement, fight against organised crime, freedom of expression and independence of the media, and public administration reform; close consultation and cooperation with all segments of civil society so as to build a joint genuine public support for the EU; the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises need breathing space (in terms of both finance and legal certainty) so that they can develop in a confidence-inspiring business climate and generate employment in a white (as opposed to grey) economy; regional cooperation also entails a determination to move towards reconciliation, and to contribute actively to implement all Berlin Process commitments, so as to have the entire region prosper and move gradually closer to the EU.

2. Yes, provided the required changes outlined above are carried out effectively and sustainably, and that all six WB-partners contribute actively to attaining the objectives set forth within the framework of the Berlin process.

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