Belgrade, 31st October, 2013 – The Foreign Investors Council presented the White Book 2013 to the Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and the highest officials of the Serbian Government. This year’s edition, 11th in the row, provides suggestions for ease of doing business in Serbia. FIC members’ knowledge was invested into this project with aim to help Serbia to improve business environment and thus attract more investments and unleash growth.
FIC President Frederic Coin opened the event noting that since the last year’s White Book edition "Serbia has made a major step towards the EU integration, unlocking a unique opportunity to accelerate reforms and adapt to the needs of a competitive economy". He underlined that the economic environment of the country will remain difficult in the coming months, and the Government needs to show courage and take without any delay sometimes difficult decisions, in order to enable growth and reduce unemployment. In that sense, anti-crisis plan of the reshuffled Government is the first step in the right direction.
He underlined that main FIC expectations continue to be: maintaining macro-economic stability; launching systemic reforms and reforming the policy of state ownership and influence in the economy; strengthening capacity of state administration to implement laws; and upgrading the business climate by cutting administrative barriers. FIC President concluded that in the past year, the Government has recognized these key problems and expressed openness for dialogue in addressing them. "It is now the time to accelerate the reforms and to make sure the new laws are properly enforced through better coordination and supervision of the public administration".
According to the latest White Book, last year brought wide scope of reforms that need to be deepened and more efficiently implemented. Most progress was made in public procurement, trade and tax, and in field of IT industry. Certain improvements are noted in major part of overall legal framework (with the highest scores in competition protection and e-commerce), infrastructure (transport, energy, telecommunications), environmental regulation, as well as in the fields of tobacco and private security industry. Least progress was marked in labour regulations and human capital, real-estate and customs, as well as in the fields of food and agriculture, insurance, and leasing.
Prime Minister Ivica Dačić gave a key note speech and afterwards participated in the panel. The highest Government officials and the FIC Board members gathered in a panel to discuss ways to improve business environment in Serbia. Opinions were exchanged between Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, Minister responsible for EU integration Branko Ružić, Minister of Economy Sasa Radulović and Minister of Finance Lazar Krstić. Views of FIC were presented by: FIC President and President of the Executive Board of the Societe Generale Bank Serbia Frederic Coin, FIC Vice President and CEO of Carlsberg Serbia Group Gabor Bekefi, FIC Board member and CEO of Lafarge Serbia Dimitrije Knjeginjić and FIC Board member and Commercial Director of PepsiCo Western Balkans Michalis Orfanoudakis.
Video record from White book 2013 Launch can be downloaded here
The FIC continues to expand, gathering 130 foreign companies, who have invested more than EUR 20 billion, contributed to 17.5% of GDP in 2012 and directly employ more than 95,000 people in Serbia, based on further growth and inflow of new members. Through support and active engagement of membership, the FIC has proven to be a strict guardian of the business community interests and at the same time a reliable partner to the Government.