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Serbia can become EU member by 2012

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Serbian Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic said that Serbia can become an EU member by the end of 2012.

In a conference on investment in South-eastern Europe organised by the Ekonomist magazine, Dinkic said that Serbia will have three prerequisites for attracting foreign investment.

He noted that Serbia will have political stability, the advantage of not being EU member state like Romania and Bulgaria, and will be firmly on its path to the EU.

The future government will have a tough task as social responsibility is impossible to attain without strong economic growth, he said adding that Serbia will reduce direct taxes for investors, which will increase production and reduce unemployment.

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This would increase budget revenues, which will be used to finance the growing social needs, he said.

Dinkic pointed out that Serbia will continue with its 7% annual economic growth in the next four years and recalled that direct foreign investments in the previous two years amounted to $9 billion.

He also announced that a final contract on the merger of Zastava and Fiat could be signed by mid-July.

Dinkic announced that the privatisation tender for Jat Airways is to be announced on July 15 and noted that the asking price will be €150 million.

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He explained that Jat Airways owes €28 million to its employees, which will be paid out from the company’s sale price.

The tender will be open by September, he said adding that 51% of the airliner’s assets will be on sale.

If the bidder is a company outside the EU, it will be allowed to participate and buy 51% of Jat Airways on condition it enters a consortium with an EU company because of the free sky agreement.

A tender for Jat Tehnika will be published on June 16 in Financial Times and Serbian media and will be open until September 26, he said, noting that the buyer must have had an annual turnover of at least €100 million in 2007 and must specialise in aircraft repair and servicing.

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