Investments to soar, foreign debt to plummet by year’s end, says Dinkic

Serbian Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic said in an interview for today’s edition of the daily Vecernje Novosti that as a result of the implementation of the „Plan Plus“, presented last week to the EU High Commissioner Olli Rehn, it is expected that by year’s end Serbia will considerably reduce its foreign debt and attract even bigger investments into infrastructure.

Dinkic said that the implementation of the plan should begin in autumn, if Serbia resumes the negotiations with the EU, and first steps towards visa relaxations for students and researchers should be made, whereas by 2008 it is possible that visas will be abolished for all categories of citizens.

Following the meeting with Rehn, a new perspective of accelerated development has opened up for Serbia. As soon as 2007, Serbia will have access to the EU pre-accession funds, which will also additionally increase once Serbia becomes a candidate country. Europe has faith in the development of the Serbian economy which is further encouraged by the increase in foreign investment in Serbia. It is estimated that this year’s foreign investments could exceed $3.5 billion, said Dinkic.

He said that EU officials are also willing to offer help with infrastructure investments and that they are also willing to stimulate employment in Serbia.

He also said that the EU Commissioner for Education will visit Belgrade this autumn to discuss concrete issues regarding EU support to education in Serbia, envisioned in the „Plan Plus“.

This implies there will be more scholarships for Serbian students and for teacher training programmes. Thus, the curriculum in Serbian schools could be modernised and adjusted to EU standards, concluded Dinkic.