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Serbia doing well – but remains “far behind Nordic nations”

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“We are thankful to Nordic investors for noticing Serbia’s progress in the economy and on the European path,” Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday.

Serbia is “doing well,” he observed – “but it is still far behind Nordic countries.”

“It will take many more generations to get closer to them at least,” Vucic told the Nordic Innovative Business in Serbia conference held in the residence of the Finnish ambassador, Tanjug reported.

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“The fact that we and our Nordic partners are today talking about generic drugs, rather than bankruptcy, is a proof of Serbia’s progress,” he said.

Vucic said he was “pleased that foreign investors and the ambassador of Finland could see that Serbs, too, were capable of producing results, noting that Serbia had consolidated its public finances, that it had no budget deficit at this time and that it was still moving up on the World Bank’s Doing Business list.”

“Only accelerated progress can enable Serbia to catch up with Central European standards, which will take decades, while we can only try to reduce the enormous gap separating us from Nordic nations,” he said.

“Serbia is choosing its future today, and what part of the world and Europe it wants to belong in in the next 20, 30, 50 years – whether we want to wait and rely on welfare assistance, or rely on our own efforts to get closer to Central European nations and one day, after many years of lagging behind Northern European nations, start to reduce the development gap between us and them,” he said.

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For development – which implies an average growth rate of over three percent over the next 5-6 years – we will need support from all Nordic countries, Vucic said.

And while Serbia remains far from the standards that exist in Nordic countries, the prime minister “noted that investors from those countries perceive the progress in Serbia made in the field of European integration, but also in the economy.”

“We came to those results thanks to the reforms. Today we discussed with our Nordic partners joint efforts to encourage innovation, which is vital for future investments, Vucic said, according to the government’s website.

He “recalled in this context that Serbia has consolidated its public finances, the deficit is four times lower than expected, and that our country continues to make progress on the World Bank’s Doing Business list.”

According to Vucic, “our public finances are stable, which for investors from Nordic countries is a positive sign that they did not come to a country with an uncertain business environment.”

Ambassador of Finland in Belgrade Pertti Ikonen said that Serbia was “progressing well” having invested “a lot of efforts to reform society.”

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