The Council of Foreign Investors (FIC) presented the “White Book 2023”, which contains 397 recommendations for improving the business and investment climate in Serbia, including organizing timely public discussions on all new regulations with regular dialogue with the business community.
An investment of 6 billion euros for closer ties with the single market of the European Union, harmonization of reforms for economic resilience, as well as a good opportunity for accelerated integration in the EU – these are topics that stood out during the presentation of this year’s edition of the White Book.
The Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, Ambassador Emanuele Žiofre, emphasized that the Council of Foreign Investors is an important partner in improving the Serbian economy, and that the White Book is a manual for a better business environment, with a strong focus on EU integration.
“Enlargement has once again appeared at the top of the European Union’s priorities, and there is a growing sense of urgency for the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and other countries that want to become part of the EU. We, as a credible and long-standing partner of Serbia, have sent a clear message that we will be ready for the enlarged Union, which was confirmed by the EU leaders through the Declaration in Granada,” Gioffre said.
The ambassador also emphasized the importance of the new growth plan for the region, which, among other things, should bring the Western Balkans closer to the single market of the European Union. For these purposes, the EU proposed an investment package of 6 billion euros, of which the grant would amount to two billion, and four would be determined through loans.
“The EU is by far the most important trading partner of Serbia, where nearly 300,000 people are employed by companies from the EU, so the positive effects of the previous reforms, as well as the path of European integration, are clear. Through the new growth plan, these positive effects will multiply and show concrete benefits from EU membership,” said Giofre.
Presenting the “White Book”, the director of the Council of Foreign Investors, Aleksandar Ljubić, said that the greatest performance was made in the energy sector, fiscalization, customs, employment of foreigners and consumer protection, and reminded that 60 percent of investments in Serbia come from the European Union and that investments from EU can be increased.
“Last year, Serbia had 4.4 billion euros in direct foreign investments, and the data for this year are also good and show that in 10 months there were 3.4 billion euros of investments,” said Ljubić.
When it comes to suggestions for negotiations with the EU, he pointed out that it is necessary to harmonize domestic regulations with standards.
The presentation of the White Book was attended by Dubravka Đedović Handanović, Minister of Mining and Energy, Jelena Begović, Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation, and Tomislav Momirović, Minister of Internal and Foreign Trade.
The White Book, compiled by the members of the Council of Foreign Investors, is the main tool with which the Council makes recommendations in the last two decades with the aim of improving economic growth and a better standard of living for the citizens of Serbia.