Serbia will be fastest growing economy in Europe in 2003: Djelic

Speaking to reporters following the „Strategies for New Europe“ conference on Tuesday, Minister of Finance and Economy Bozidar Djelic said that Serbia has recorded impressive results over the last two years, its reform progress judged best among transition countries. However, Djelic warned that further uncertainty over the adoption of a constitutional charter could undermine all inroads made, adding that political stability is very important for attracting foreign investment.

„We have a great opportunity now. Hungary, the Czech Republic and other countries must harmonise their respective economies with new conditions because they will join the European Union in May 2004. This will reduce their chances of attracting investment, and we should follow the strategy and take over their investors,“ said Djelic.

„I expect a single-digit inflation of nine percent this year, the fastest economic growth in Europe of five percent, plus some E 1 billion in investment,“ he said. „Also, I expect citizens’ purchasing power to increase by four to five percent.“

„As for infrastructure, I expect Serbia to become a significant transport hub,“ said Djelic. „When it comes to privatisation, I hope that we will attract a majority of international companies, and that they will not pick us clean, but rather make use of our labourforce, tax and other sectors in order to increase exports to the EU and the US.“

The Vienna conference was organised by Euromoney Conferences, one of the world’s leading organisers of business conferences, and sponsored by Bank Austria Creditanstalt as well as regional banks. The conference brought together around 1,000 financial experts and investors from Central and Eastern Europe.