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EBRD chief: It would be great honor to have Serbia in EU

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The EBRD backs the Serbian government efforts to continue reforms, the bank’s President Suma Chakrabarti said in Belgrade on Thursday.

He also said that “it would be a great honor to have Serbia in EU.”

“Serbia has already done an excellent job when it comes to fiscal consolidation, but it needs to continue to rise and be a leader in terms of the business climate,” he told a joint press conference with Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic.

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Serbia now ranks 59th on the World Bank’s Doing Business list, which is great progress, Chakrabarti said.

“Now it is time to continue reforms, restructuring and better management in state-owned enterprises, and to continue the privatizations, he said, adding the EBRD was interested in providing assistance regarding Komercijalna Banka (bank) and the Belgrade airport,” he said, adding:

“The continuing progress in the talks with the IMF is great.”

Serbia and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are at an important crossroads, he said and added that we managed to increase investment to around EUR 500 million per year

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Aeksandar Vucic said agreement was reached today “on mechanisms in order to accelerate projects whose value is EUR 600 million.”

According to the Serbian government’s website, Vucic told the joint press conference that cooperation with the EBRD is very important because it contributes to the arrival of new investments and the growth of the Serbian economy.

“EUR 200 million in effective money will be for the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) and another EUR 200 million for Serbian Railways,” he said noting that there are more projects coming up.

He said that the Serbian government is satisfied with the cooperation with the EBRD, and that we are one of the countries that has the closest and the best cooperation with the bank.

According to Vucic, they discussed important projects that have been initiated, as well as the private sector, supporting small and medium enterprises, business climate, entrepreneurial spirit and privatization.

The Prime Minister noted that the debt restructuring of Srbijagas was also discussed.

He explained that public debt this year will not exceed 73 percent of GDP, although it was planned to be 79 percent, and that the Serbian budget surplus is now RSD 31.8 billion – RSD 115 billion more than the IMF estimated.

According to Vucic, in terms of GDP growth July and August are better than May and June, so by the end of the year it is possible that the economic growth will reach up to three percent.

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