President Nikolic with the President of EBRD

Belgrade, 24 September 2015- President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic met President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Sir Suma Chakrabarti.

President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic welcomed the delegation headed by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti with the words that Sir Suma Chakrabarti always had good news, and that Serbia was appreciative of everything this financial institution had done so far. “Signs of economic recovery are in evidence, today you are visiting a stable, investment-safe country”, President Nikolic said, adding that the first stage of reforms which implied cutting of expenditure was completed with visible results. The President emphasized that people placed great trust in the Government of Serbia, and that the severe measures taken were not met with great backlash. “The people of Serbia rightly expect us to start returning to them what we were compelled to take away from them, to avoid the doomsday scenario for the Serbian economy”, President Nikolic underscored.

President Nikolic assured EBRD President that Serbia was genuinely committed to European integration and expressed his expectation that the first negotiating chapters would be opened by the end of the year. Circumstances are very difficult, and Serbia is again facing the crisis, due to the closure of the border with Croatia. “The Croatian Prime Minister said that Serbia will suffer more damage than Croatia as a result of the border closure. Does it matter whether damage is slight or severe? Damage must not be done”, the President noted. Serbia is suffering the consequences of the policy of solidarity it pursues, but it will not alter this policy, President Nikolic underlined.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti commended Serbia and welcomed its constructive approach to the resolution of the migrant crisis, and its delicate sensitivity to the problems facing the migrants. “We are highly concerned over the growing tensions and it would prove very bad if the achieved level of regional cooperation were spoiled”, Chakrabarti emphasized, adding that he believed in dialogue. Border closures and tensions would have negative implications for regional economies, he added. He praised the immense progress that Serbia made in reform implementation, stressing that he was aware of how difficult it was to apply the necessary measures. “Serbia’s economy has recovered, you have enacted new laws, privatization is underway, and you have reasons to be content”, Chakrabarti said. EBRD stands ready to upgrade the level of investments, particularly in the area of privatization, Chakrabarti emphasized.

The President drew the EBRD President’s attention to the privatizations of Smederevo Steelworks, “Azotara” (fertilizer factory) and “Petrohemija” (petrochemical complex) from Pancevo, Agriculture Conglomerate from Kikinda and Lorry Factory from Priboj.