According to recent reports, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has plans of investing more than EUR 3 billion in the Western Balkans region, of which approximately EUR 300 million is assigned to Serbia.
A more in-depth perspective on the issue was offered by Daniel Berg, EBRD's Director, during a recent appearance on Serbian National Television (RTS) where he stated that the EBRD is aiming at investing into small and medium enterprises, with different banks serving as intermediaries. Moreover, he also expressed interest for a couple of large-scale projects that have been on the brink of privatisation in the last couple of years, including Nikola Tesla Airport and Telekom Serbia – remarking that the EBRD is in regular contact with the Serbian Government regarding this and other issues including the reforms of public administration and other public enterprises. Speaking of Serbian government, Berg recognised the tough decisions its leaders have to face in the field of privatisation in order to attract investments, therefore urging them to immediately start putting in the required work, at the same time lauding last year's signing of the Management Investment Climate Initiative. Furthermore, Berg outline his expectations in terms of Serbia's economic growth, estimating a 2% rise this year – and in case of positive developments – an even bigger one in 2017. Such growth would then increase EBRD's investments in the country, pushing them north of the previously mentioned EUR 300 million.
On a related note, Berg also touched upon the arrival of Chinese investors to Serbia, finding this fact extremely useful for the overall business climate in the region, especially since China has recently become a shareholder of the EBRD, thus opening new venues for international cooperation in general. The Smederevo steelworks have been highlighted as a premier example of what may come in the future in this regard.