Serbia will continue with capital projects in 2023

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– The Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Goran Vesić said today that he does not know what will happen in the world next year, but that the recently adopted budget of Serbia shows that the crisis does not affect the government’s determination to invest in capital projects, for which it allocated a record 3 6 billion euros. “Major investments in infrastructure take years, because we have to make up for the backlog we had due to sanctions and everything that happened in the past, but also to ensure a high level of GDP growth. Those rates would be higher if there were no problems with our main external partners”, Vesić said at the “World in 2023” conference, which is being held in the House of the National Assembly.

He emphasized that since the moment when Serbia significantly increased the volume of public investments ten years ago, we have been recording significantly higher rates of economic growth. Vesić said that during the 2020 pandemic, 196 billion dinars were invested in public investments, which contributed to a much smaller decline in the economy. “In the coming year, we will invest 420 billion dinars, that is, 3.6 billion euros, and we expect that we will not only avoid recession, but also ensure a stable growth rate until the situation in the world stabilizes,” Vesić pointed out. He presented the information that foreign investors have invested more than 17 billion euros in Serbia in the last five years and concluded that this is the reason why the state emphasizes the development of road and now railway infrastructure.

He announced that an agreement with the EU on financing the high-speed railway from Belgrade to Niš will soon be signed. “The railway to Nis should be completed in 2028 and our plan is to continue in two more directions, towards Macedonia and Greece, i.e. towards Thessaloniki and Istanbul.” The other direction we will work on is towards Šid, but that only makes sense if Croatia, Slovenia and Austria want to build their own high-speed railway”, announced Vesić. He said that the high-speed railway to Subotica should be completed by the end of 2024 or at the beginning of 2025, and that Hungary will complete its section from Budapest to the border with Serbia in the middle of 2025. The Minister of Construction added that by the end of next year, the section of the highway to Požega, as well as to the border of Republika Srpska, in the direction of Bijeljina, will be completed. Vesić stated that the sewerage construction project, which will cover 2.5 million people in Serbia, is underway. “Our policy is for every part of the country to be connected and to be connected with our neighbors, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, because we believe that the future of the region in integrations, first of all traffic and economic, and then political”, said Vesić. He stressed that the BPD of Serbia will amount to 60 billion euros by the end of the year and that Serbia can wait for 2023 with optimism, because the government is trying to develop its country.

 The Minister of Internal and Foreign Trade, Tomislav Momirović, said that the government will continue to open new markets for our goods, as the signing of free trade agreements with the United Arab Emirates, China and Korea is expected. He emphasized that this is a special opportunity for the export of our agricultural products. “Today, the export of our agricultural products is worth 4.2 billion euros, we will try to increase it to five billion euros next year, because agriculture and the processing industry have proven to be resistant to the crisis,” said Momirović. He announced that the harmonization of regulations with the EU will continue, as trade with the Union accounts for 60 percent of Serbian exports, and added that regional integration will continue, primarily through the Open Balkans project.

“We must pay attention to the Open Balkans, because we have created the conditions for the free movement of goods and people in the Balkans, and we are waiting for our partners from North Macedonia and Albania to adopt decisions on this, so that we can have free trade and the flow of labor, which is important for economic development”, said Momirović. He pointed out that the region is an important market for Serbia and that the government will therefore not abandon such a policy. “It brings good to the entire region and we would like other countries in the region to see it as well,” emphasized Momirović. He promised that the government will ensure the stability of the domestic market, i.e. the supply of goods to our citizens and the stable growth we had in previous years, reports Tanjug.

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