Aleksandar Ljubić, Executive Director of the Foreign Investors Council

We Passed The Test

We’re proud of the way FIC members have responded to the challenges brought by the pandemic. Our companies have demonstrated solidarity and responsibility, both towards society and towards their partners and other members, with one guiding idea – to overcome together, as painlessly as possible, the first shock of confronting the unknown

From this perspective, everything seems like a dream to me, says FIC Executive Director Aleksandar Ljubić. This organisation, which is this year celebrating 18 years of successful work and constant growth, has behind it a dynamic period during which both the association and its members adapted to the challenges of the epidemic as they emerged.

“Many of our companies directed their donations towards the procurement of health equipment and assistance, in order for the health system to stabilise. Simultaneously, as soon as the state of emergency was declared, we – as an organisation – established very good communication with the state and other business associations, and made our capacities available to the state for shaping its package of measures intended for the economy. Member companies also expressed their responsibility and solidarity by sharing all information available to them, without taking into consideration the fact that they are each others’ direct competitors on the market,” explains our interlocutor.

Was it challenging to help your own members during the COVID-19 outbreak?

– Our members mutually shared all corporate information related to preventing and combatting the spread of infection, and as an organisation we supported them in the timely distribution of that information in real time. Every day, from hour to hour, 24 hours a day, we informed member companies about everything that was happening, because we wanted them to receive more confirmation that the FIC is present at all times to provide them with relevant information and remove any doubts they might had had regarding work permits, movements during the curfew or the organising of late shifts at factories.

We had exceptional cooperation during this period with the Delegation of the European Union in Belgrade. The swift reactions of the Delegation confirmed the EU’s commitment to Serbia and, on the other hand, our country’s commitment to European integration, which was also evident through the very quick establishing of green corridors that were vital for the procurement of medical equipment, the functioning of agriculture and food processing, and the continuation of export operations.

What have you done in order to maintain the dialogue among members and between the membership and the Government?

– The time of the Coronavirus emphasised the essential need for digitalisation, for a change in regulations related to remote work, work from home and the digital agenda, which the FIC began preparing for instantaneously. I believe that we’ll be ready to propose a three-year plan of work on digitalisation to the State at the beginning of September, based on the knowledge that our companies possess in their home countries, firstly in the financial sector, then later also in other areas.

With the experience that we have today, I think that – by the time a vaccine arrives – both us and our members will be fully prepared to respond to the challenge of a pandemic

What do you consider as the FIC’s greatest strength when it comes to providing comments on the Serbian Government’s proposals for mitigating the crisis’s impact on the economy?

– The FIC’s strength springs from the strength of its members. The basic objective of the association is to influence improvement to the business climate in Serbia by providing concrete proposals for reforms. Our members gave their full contribution to helping the state structure measures to support the economy in the best possible way. Almost all of the FIC’s proposals have been adopted, which means that we were on the same wavelength as the government. It’s important to note that the FIC brings together mostly large companies, which weren’t hit by the first wave of the pandemic, but as a responsible association, and with responsible companies comprising that association, we wanted to protect the chain of our suppliers, which is comprised of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Was it challenging to maintain a democratic spirit in electing the new leadership of the board of directors?

– We organised ourselves to function fully online very quickly, and under such conditions we managed to conduct elections for our boards successfully. Interest was very high and there were a lot of candidates, which shows that companies consider their own organisation and want to participate in elections and be candidates. Elections for two more committees remain to be held in the autumn, which we’ll conduct in the same technical way as these previous ones. With this we will complete the composition of the management and the board of directors and head, we hope, towards a better year in 2021.

How did quarantine requirements impact on the FIC’s planned activities and what do you consider as your next biggest task?

– Despite the state of emergency, we had several exceptionally well-attended round-tables regarding the issue of the cadastral register, with the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Trade and Telecommunications, and other ministries with which we cooperate. We also organised our standard events that see companies help each other interpret certain regulations, and we also had several seminars related to money laundering and other regulations.

For the coming autumn we’re preparing a presentation of the White Book, which is our biggest event that includes the participation of almost all foreign companies, the diplomatic corps and government representatives. If the situation doesn’t ease, we’ll organise it with an online format, but we’ll try to be innovative because we believe that such an important event deserves to be commemorated in the right way.


I think that companies are very satisfied with the way the organisation gave them support during the pandemic


We’re ready to propose a three-year plan of work on digitalisation to the State, firstly in the financial sector, then later also in other areas


Thanks to good communication with the State, we were able to provide member companies with relevant information on organising their operations during the state of emergency

Related Articles

Ana Firtel, Executive Director Of The Foreign Investors Council

We’ve Preserved Unity And Independence

The two most important lessons we’ve learned from 15 years of successful activities are that we have preserved our unity and independence by insisting...

FIC Autumn Networking Cocktail

FIC Serbia and its distinguished member Karanovic & Partners organized the second FIC networking cocktail this year. The Executive Director of the Council, Aleksandar Ljubić, thanked Karanovic &...

Jorgovanka Tabaković, Governor Of The National Bank Of Serbia

Combating Inflation Is A Priority

We believe that FDI inflows will reach around four billion euros by year’s end. This is good news, as it shows that investors recognise...

Tian Ye, Director, Minth Automotive

We’ve Responded Successfully to the Challenge

Minth Automotive’s first serial production and delivery to customers from Loznica will start from the beginning of 2021. It comes as a result of...

FIC Networking Cocktail

FIC Serbia and its distinguished member Karanovic & Partners organized the second FIC networking cocktail this year. Read more...

IMF Resident Representative in Serbia

Sebastian Sosa: Dealing With the ‘New Normal’ Is Challenging

Serbia’s hopes for faster recovery than initially expected should be built upon the recent positive data about retail sales, industrial production and external trade....

FIC Telco & Digital Economy Committee Created

Telecommunication & Digital Economy Committee was the last one to be established as part of the reorganization of FIC working committees in 2020. It...

The Foreign Investors Council Held Its Regular Annual Assembly

The Foreign Investors Council held the regular annual session of the Assembly summarizing the key achievements and making solid basis for the future growth....

H.E. Li Ming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Serbia

Unbreakable Friendship

It was 25 years ago (1999) that the Chinese and Serbian people stood firmly together to defend international justice with their own blood and...

Mark Graham Professor, Oxford Internet Institute

Workers Must Unite Against Digital Empires

Just as historical rulers clung to power, the leaders of today’s digital empire are unlikely to willingly empower the disempowered. Without multinational worker organisations...

Jelena Jovanović, Secretary of the CCIS Association of Electronic Communications and Information Society

Broadband Internet Contributes to New Investments

All the services that we provide in an electronic format are conceived to provide entrepreneurs/ business owners with simpler and swifter access to documents...

Zorana Milidrag, Co-Founder of the eCommerce Association of Serbia

Our Main Problem is One of Size

Our market is very small, which is why it would be extremely important for us to open up to the region. This would bring...

DM Celebrates 20 Years of Business in Serbia

On the occasion of its significant anniversary, two decades of successful operations in Serbia, dm drogerie markt organised a...

New Joint Venture Forms to Revolutionize Balkan Logistics

In a strategic move to enhance logistics operations in the Western Balkans, Transfera, a leading logistics company in the...

Concept Mercedes-AMG PureSpeed

Exciting, energising and breathtaking – the Mercedes‑AMG PureSpeed concept is the highlight in the run-up to the Formula 1™...

Western Balkans Chambers of Commerce Sign Tourism Cooperation Memorandum in US Congress

A landmark Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed at the US Congress, uniting the Chambers of Commerce of the...

Serbia Ascends as Key Trade Partner for Germany

Serbia is set to become a net exporter to Germany by 2025, overtaking its imports from the economic powerhouse,...