BELGRADE – The EU’s highly industrialised countries can no longer expect to have annual growth rates of 3 pct, says Karl Aiginger, director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, adding that countries like Serbia should be registering up to three times the growth rates of EU states.

“That (3 pct annual growth rates) is impossible. On the other hand, growth in Western Europe is necessary for Serbia because only if Germany and Austria are growing can Serbia grow even more and reduce the gap behind the European average,” Aiginger told the latest issue of the Belgrade weekly NIN.

Once the Fed and the European Central Bank raise interest rates and shut down sources of cheap money, the EU will see even slower growth, making it even more difficult for membership candidates to reduce the gap, he said.

Thus, it is very important for Serbia to have a good investment climate and that EU-based entrepreneurs believe that the situation will remain calm, without political conflicts erupting every two years, Aiginger said.

“It must be a zone of peace, with a 5 pct annual growth rate if the EU has a 1-2 pct growth rate,” he said.

Aiginger said he was confident the euro had survived the toughest crisis two years ago and that, by 2030, 30 European countries would be using it as their currency.