Serbia needs to speed up reforms and accelerate EU accession talks in order to catch up with EU level of economic development, Yana Mikhailova, President of the Foreign Investors Council (FIC), said on Wednesday at the presentation of the White Book 2018. Foreign investors have three key expectations from the government, she added. These are to achieve sustainable fiscal consolidation (structural reforms, especially privatization and corporatization of state-owned enterprises), improve law implementation, especially in tax area (strengthening tax administration) and provide more transparency in public consultations with focus on reforms in eight priority topics. There priority topics are tax, labor, digitalization& eCommerce, real-estate, inspections, food safety, and overall legal framework, with emphasis on regulations on bankruptcy and foreign exchange operations.
Top performing areas in the period October 2017-October 2018, according to the FIC Index, remained construction land and development, protection of users of financial service and transport. Meanwhile, the worst performers were insurance, the law on the central registry of temporary restriction of rights and the registration process for plant protection products.
Out of 513 recommendations given in the White Book 2017 there was no progress on 66%, certain progress on 30% and significant progress on 4%. The new edition provides 272 recommendations to the authorities.
The FIC brings together more than 120 companies with investments over EUR33bn that employ more than 100,000 employees in Serbia. The White Book is published yearly since 2003 and presents a comprehensive overview of the business environment in Serbia and gives concrete recommendations on how to improve it in order to make doing business in the country easier.