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European investment, trade crucial to Serbian growth: PM
Source: Xinhua     Date: 2018-02-01
Increased trade with the European Union (EU) along with direct investment and donations from the EU have been crucially in helping Serbia stabilize economy, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said Wednesday.
Brnabic made this statement at the conference "EU-Serbia 2018: Investments, growth and employment" held in Belgrade.
Besides Brnabic, the conference was attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the President of the EU parliament Antonio Tajani as well as other leading officials and EU representatives.
According to the government's statement, Brnabic said Serbia is the most successful country in the Balkan part of Europe when it comes to attracting direct foreign investment, while its plan is to strengthen small- and medium-sized companies.
She said that in the past five years, trade between Serbia and the EU increased by 47 percent, while Serbia's export increased by 80 percent.
"There aren't many economies like Serbia that compensate their size with numerous regional agreements, while keeping foreign investors as a priority. This is how we stimulate employment, accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty," she said.
Chief of the EU delegation in Serbia Sem Fabrizi said that the EU is engaged in boosting Serbia's economic growth and creating new jobs.
"The EU is by far the biggest trading partner, donor and investor in Serbia," he said.
Fabrizi said that it is expected that ongoing investments into transport infrastructure raise the gross domestic product of Serbia by 1 percent annually in the next 15 years, as well as to create more than 200,000 jobs.
Speaking at the conference, Tajani said that Serbia along with Montenegro are the leading candidates for the EU membership, and that it is possible for the two countries to become members before 2025.