Serbia needs to take tough measures to fight corruption and organized crime in order to attract more foreign investments, the European Union’s enlargement chief said on Monday.
“Drastic remedial actions need to be taken as a matter of urgency," Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told a Brussels conference on business in Serbia. After the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, corruption, organized crime, tax evasion and financial fraud emerged as serious problems in all countries in the region, he said. “In the current context of global financial turmoil ... strengthening the rule of law and maintaining macro-economic stability are decisive for foreign direct investment and key elements to create an environment which is truly conducive to economic growth,” he said.
EU accession is a priority for Serbia’s pro-Western government, but its progress has been slowed by the failure to arrest and hand over a genocide suspect, former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic, for trial by a UN tribunal. Serbia does 56% of its trade with the EU, Rehn said. The EU executive is due to publish its annual progress report on Serbia and other aspirants in early November. (Reuters)