Ambassadors urge subsidies to domestic investors
Direct foreign investments are necessary for Serbia's economic growth but there should also be subsidies for domestic investments and those from Serbs abroad.Source: Tanjug
This was heard from the ambassadors of the United States, Germany, Italy, Greece and Austria, who took part in the Serbian Economic Summit on Tuesday.
U.S. Ambassador Michael Kirby said Serbia had to create a business environment that would attract both foreign and domestic investors, thereby helping improve the economic situation in the country.
Serbia cannot be part of the EU without becoming a member of the World Trade Organization, he said.
One of Serbia's problems is the number of skilled and educated people leaving the country, but there are also examples of young people leaving and returning later one to put to use the skills they learned abroad, he noted.
Kirby says large companies in Serbia often try to benefit political parties, which should be changed.
German Ambassador Heinz Wilhelm stresses that, besides the foreign, the Serbian government should also subsidize domestic investors, because the country's economy needs more new Serbian companies in order to do well on the global market.
The local economy has to start working, and that is the point economic reform, he stated, underscoring that it was necessary to settle the problem of restitution and property because that was one of the biggest obstacles to foreign investments.
Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Manzo says Serbia's small and medium companies should be a stronger pillar of the country's economy, adding that it should be kept in mind when adopting new laws.
Serbia has to learn to subsidize its own investors, but also to invest in agriculture, where there is extraordinary potential that can help make Serbia an exporter, Manzo stated, adding that the company Ferrero from Italy would be coming to Serbia.
Italy has invested in Serbia around EUR 3.5 billion since its arrival and Italian companies have 20,000 employees in Serbia, he remarked.
Greek Ambassador Constantine Economides said foreign investments were absolutely necessary to ensure economic growth and a higher standard of living for the people.
Those investments are particularly important in infrastructure, energy and telecommunications, and Greece is already a partner in many such projects, he pointed out.
Austrian Ambassador Johannes Eigner reported that Austrian companies had complained the most about licensing procedures, the tax system, discipline in payments and corruption.