Serbia will have a growth of one percent less than planned

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The first projections of world institutions say that due to the war in Ukraine, Serbia will have a growth of one percent less than planned, and the damage will be due to the easy position on the issue of sanctions against Russia. The state leadership claims that Belgrade will not choose a side, but the damage already amounts to almost a billion euros, regardless of whether we will introduce them or not.

President Aleksandar Vučić reiterated that Serbia will not choose a side in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He gave this statement to the prestigious Financial Times, for which he emphasized that despite the pressure, Serbia will not endanger its national interests.

“We have some kind of protection from Russia. What do Western countries want? There is talk of choosing sides. No, we have our own side, the interests of Serbia “, Vučić was clear.

According to the assessment of former ambassador Srecko Djukic, in the current situation, Serbia already loses a little more than a billion dollars a year just because of the sanctions that, above all, EU countries imposed on Russia.

“The damage already exists now,” says Djukic, adding that the public justifiably raises the question of what price Serbia would have to pay for the introduction or non-imposition of sanctions.

“I think that the European Union knows that calculation, how much the current situation costs Serbia and how much it would cost to impose sanctions on Russia.” Aleksandar Vučić knows that too. The only ones who don’t know that are the citizens of Serbia “, states Đukić.

Economist Mihailo Gajić says for Nova.rs that economic consequences are possible if we impose, but also if we do not impose sanctions on Russia.

“It would cost Serbia to impose sanctions on Russia, but it all depends on what they are focused on. On the other hand, certain consequences could happen if we do not impose sanctions. You have seen what happened recently with the import of crude oil. for NIS “, Gajić points out.

He emphasizes that it is still not known what the EU thinks is enough, and it concerns the introduction of sanctions.

“The war in Ukraine costs Serbia a lot, and that can be seen in the projection of the percentage growth, which will be 3.5 percent instead of 4.5 percent by the end of this year.” The economy in Europe has slowed down, which is why there are repercussions on Serbia as well. We have a difficult choice ahead of us, and the options are not good in any case “, says Gajić.

Economist Vladimir Gligorov points out for Nova.rs that the loss for Serbia at this moment could be great if there were no friendly prices for Russian gas.

“At this time, the loss could be great if there were no friendly prices for Russian gas, first of all. An additional problem is possible political instability. It is calculated that the reaction of the USA and the EU will not be very negative at first. Probably not. In the long run, there is a choice between a lower gas price and lost economic development “, says our interlocutor.

Gligorov emphasizes that the long-term problem is that the EU will “separate” from Russia, and thus Serbia, if it is not in line with the policy advocated by Brussels.

“In the short term, it is likely that joining the sanctions regime would lead to political problems within Serbia. In the long run, possible disappointment, especially in Germany, could have serious consequences for the behavior of the Serbian authorities. The problem will be that the EU will be economically separated from Russia, and then from countries such as Serbia. And there is no substitute for the European Union market for Serbia. In that case, not only economic growth would be risked, but also the development of the country “, concludes Gligorov, Nova reports.