Aleksandar Ljubić, FIC Executive Director

Our Commitment To Digitalisation Proved To Be Right

The pandemic has shown the importance of digitalisation, not only in the financial sector, but rather also in all other sectors in which the digitalisation of operations will enable easier and more efficient work. The FIC, through our network of member companies, will support the educating of citizens to ensure that digital solutions are equally available to all.

Next year will mark two decades since the founding of the Foreign Investors Council. And, judging by news posted on the FIC website, the FIC has continued to gain new members even during this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here we discuss what’s new in the work of the Council’s Executive Office and its plans for the future with FIC Executive Director Aleksandar Ljubić.

How many companies are FIC members today?

The number of members of the Foreign Investors Council increases every year, and that is certainly something that fills us with pride, but we are even more satisfied with the fact that we are, alongside state institutions, one of the first addresses that potential new foreign investors in Serbia turn to. In the countries in which they operate, they are referred to us because we bring together a large community of over 120 companies that have invested over 36 billion euros and employ more than 100,000 people, which ensures that they feel well received in our company and that they know that they can rely on our knowledge resources.

Compared to 2020, how has the work of your office changed in 2021, in the sense of the main areas of support to your members?

The main objectives of the FIC during last year were to ensure the health and safety of employees, maintain the continuity of operations and enable companies to adapt quickly and efficiently to the new circumstances. The most important task of the executive office was to provide them with support in all activities. We are still in a state of increased readiness and are prepared to leap to the aid of every member.

However, this year we’ve more or less returned to normal life and regular FIC activities. While the 2020 White Book dealt with the impact of COVID-19 on all relevant regulatory areas, this year our most important publication will once again contain recommendations for improving the business climate, with specific proposals for resolving burning issues. We experienced a major shift in 2019, because 40% of our recommendations were implemented, while this year we’ve set the goal of half of the recommendations provided being adopted. And if we don’t succeed in fully achieving this goal in 2021, we believe that we will continue working successfully with the Government of Serbia on the building of a predictable business environment and digitalisation, which remains our key topic.

Last year gave us the opportunity to see how important digitalisation is in many areas of social life and how important it is to eliminate existing bottlenecks. We worked a lot with the Government of Serbia and the National Bank on solutions such as the digitalisation of bills of exchange, the introduction of video identification, the implementation of signatures in the cloud and other significant solutions that have proven to be extremely important, particularly during a pandemic. The Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment and the National Bank of Serbia have done an excellent job of introducing these kinds of solutions. We have now added the digitalisation of healthcare to our priorities. Of course, we will also continue working on other topics that have traditionally been in our focus.

On the basis of the summary of the FIC Assembly regarding the association’s key achievements, as well as the list of activities in 2021, it seems that digitalised communication has increased the efficiency of the Council’s communication with stakeholders and the public. What are your observations from practise?

FIC members are present across all parts of the country, which is why – long before the outbreak of the pandemic – digital solutions imposed themselves as an excellent opportunity for us to maintain intensive communication between members who are working, through eight committees, on proposals for improving legislative solutions in numerous areas. From our own experience of the work of the Council, it was clear to us that digitalisation has far-reaching and positive repercussions for society. In the period ahead, through our network of members, we will focus in particular on the popularisation of digitalisation and educating citizens to ensure that digital solutions are available to all equally.

It was precisely during moments like that of the outbreak of the pandemic that the corporate qualities of large multinationals and their awareness to selflessly share experiences, particularly in the field of healthcare, were shown

You represent the FIC in the Government’s Working Group tasked with advancing the Law on Electronic Communications and the Government’s Council for Encouraging the Development of the Digital Economy, Innovation, High-Tech Entrepreneurship and Digitalisation. What are the key topics for the FIC?

Alongside the development of road infrastructure, which is progressing well and opening up some parts of Serbia that were inaccessible until yesterday, the construction of “digital highways” is extremely important for foreign direct investments and further economic development, in order for more capital-intensive investments to be able to come to Serbia.

The example of the introduction of “green corridors” with the help of the use of the Electronic Data Exchange System between customs administrations within the scope of CEFTA, which the Delegation of the European Union worked on with huge support from the FIC, showed the importance of the free movement of goods, and we hope that they will also continue to thrive after the pandemic.

We are currently working with the Ministry of Finance and the Customs Administration on various modules within the multi-year process to develop the National One-Stop Shop System, which – when completed in five years – will connect all participants in foreign trade exchanges, including both state bodies and the business community, and which has the end goal of creating more efficiency in the implementing of foreign trade exchanges and European integration.

Apart from cooperating on various government initiatives, which stakeholders and topics have been in your focus during 2021?

During this period, we have been focused in particular on cooperation with the Government of Serbia, but we’ve additionally also continued maintaining good relations and cooperation with the academic community and other business associations, such as AmCham, NALED and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce & Industry. We each have our own priorities, and ours is certainly digitalisation and all associated processes.

What has changed when it comes to the internal organisation of your work and which modalities of digital cooperation will you retain when the pandemic ends?

As an organisation, we will continue using and developing digital tools that allow us to communicate quickly and reliably, but we will certainly also foster a hybrid model of work that provides us with the opportunity to nurture all forms of exchanges of opinions between members.


We worked tirelessly with the Government of Serbia on digital solutions that have shown their full value during the pandemic


The new edition of the White Book delivers specific proposals for improving the business environment and provides a platform for an active dialogue on further advancing the legislative framework in Serbia


As an organisation, we will continue using and developing digital tools that allow us to communicate quickly and reliably, and which support the work of our committees

Related Articles

Daniel Šušnjar, President Of The FIC Telecommunications & Digital Economy Committee (Telenor d.o.o.)

Removing Administrative Obstacles Is Important For The 5g Network

The key priorities of our committee in the following period are to work on the adoption of the new Law on Electronic Communications, amendments...

Zorana Mihajlović Ph.D., Deputy Prime Minister And Minister Of Construction, Transport And Infrastructure

We Must Be Both Fast And Considered

Energy transition is a process that represents the reality for the whole of Europe, including us. The Green Agenda gives us the opportunity to...

Dragan Drača, President Of The FIC Taxation Committee (Pricewaterhousecoopers d.o.o.)

More Transparency And Dialogue

One of our priorities during the period ahead will be to return to issues related to improving tax regulations and practises, alongside greater transparency...

Dušan Lalić, President Of The FIC Financial Services Committee (Generali Osiguranje Srbija a.d.o.)

Simplifying And Digitalising Services In The Interest Of Users

We wish to continue our excellent cooperation with representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the National Bank of Serbia on...

Dejan Vukotić, CEO Of The Serbian Export Credit And Insurance Agency (AOFI)

We’ve Preserved Our Economic Base

Thanks to the Government of Serbia’s Economic Support Programme, the Serbian economy preserved its exports, investments and employment despite the COVID-19 Pandemic and aggravated...


Strategic Focus On Digitalisation Paying Off

In these fast times of ours, we can certainly consider five years ago as being history. And it was then that the Foreign Investors...

Radomir Cerović, President Of The FIC Pharmaceutical Industry Committee (Roche d.o.o.)

Digitalisation Leads To Better Quality Healthcare Protection

The digitalisation of healthcare, which has been announced by the Government of Serbia, represents an important step towards the all-encompassing recovery of the state...

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...

H.E. Cathy Buggenhout, Belgian Ambassador to Serbia

Serbia’s Place is in the EU

I personally believe that there’s never been a more urgent need to have a strong, meaningful and result-oriented dialogue between the EU Member States...

Tanja Miščević, European Integration Minister of Serbia

Catching The EU Enlargement Wave

We are ready to start finalising our EU accession, with an absolute focus on the results of the reforms that represent the essence of...

H.E. Archbishop Santo Gangemi Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See

Striving To Clarify Misunderstandings Together

“There is an element that I consider important in relations between the Church and states – that of never allowing oneself to be overwhelmed...

Michela Telatin Ph.D., UNOPS Serbia Multi-Country Office Director

Together For A Sustainable Future

UNOPS is leading a new joint United Nations intervention in Serbia that aims to enhance local governance, social inclusion and environmental protection. Along with...

Soaring Olive Oil Prices Amid Production Decline

Olive oil prices have soared to unprecedented levels as severe droughts in producing countries have dwindled stocks. According to...

Greeks Work the Longest Weeks in the EU, Dutch the Shortest

In 2022, the average working week for individuals aged 20 to 64 within the European Union stood at 37.5...

Belarus to Integrate its Energy System with Russia by Early 2024

Belarus is set to finalise documentation that will commence the integration of its energy infrastructure with Russia's, paving the...

Local Gender Equality Projects Receive Support from EU’s Programme in Serbia

Contracts have been awarded to representatives of nine local municipalities in Serbia for the third consecutive time, aimed at...

Celebratory Stamps Launched Marking 115 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Serbia and Egypt

A special series of commemorative stamps, crafted by the Serbian Postal Service in honour of the 115th anniversary of...