BELGRADE – The start of the accession talks with the EU will not bring immediate benefits to the Serbian economy, but it will definitely happen in the future, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic has said.

Ivica Dacic

“Tomorrow is a historic day for Serbia,” he noted, adding he expected Serbia to get the start date for the talks without any additional requirements and stressed that the government saw potential in EU integration for securing a more stable, safer and economically speaking better future for the people.

Dacic addressed a conference on Serbia’s EU integration and its effect on the economy and underscored there was no alternative for Serbia other than to join the EU.

He responded to the critics who say the government should turn to other goals instead of focusing solely on getting the start date for the talks by asking them what the alternative was.

Serbia will turn to new goals tomorrow and it will mean a new start for the country, he stated.

Croatia received EUR 11 billion from the pre-accession funds during the talks, while Lithuania got around EUR 5 billion in five years, he pointed out.

Serbia’s GDP is 65 percent of what it was in 1989, which is why it has no more time to wait and has to speed up its development as soon as possible, and EU integration can help that, he said.

The course of the integration so far has strengthened the battle against corruption and organized crime, improved the business environment and resulted in many laws adopted by the government meant to further better that environment, Dacic explained.

Before that, Serbia’s legislation has to adapt to the EU’s, he said.

The current ability of the Serbian economy to compete is not satisfactory, yet it can be improved as the talks with the EU progress and through the arrival of foreign capital, the prime minister noted.

He called on the business and financial community in Serbia to work with the government to improve the business environment.

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby, National Bank of Serbia Governor Jorgovanka Tabakovic, Minister of Regional Development Verica Kalanovic and many officials of Serbian and foreign companies and banks in the country attended the conference.

Business Info Group organized the conference with support from USAID.


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