Serbia is a developing country in the final transitioning stage towards liberal market economy. The membership in the European Union is not yet certain but the country has already harmonized its legislation with the EU acquis to a significant extent. Before becoming an EU state Serbia will have to make some hard political decisions, including the resolution of political and border disputes with the neighbouring countries.
Since 2009 when it recorded negative GDP growth rate, Serbia has been experiencing moderate growth (excluding 2020 affected by COVID-19). The average share of investments in the country’s GDP over the period Mar 1995 to Dec 2020 is 19%.
The country made respectable progress in reforming its fiscal policy and consolidating public finance. Public debt went down from 74.7% (2015) to close to 60% (2020) of the national GDP.
One of the greatest burdens for Serbian economy and its fiscal stability are large state owed companies. These include Elektroprivreda Srbije, Telekom Srbija, Pošta, Srbija Gas.
In 2019/2020, first two public private partnerships have been implemented: concession agreement for Belgrade Airport Nikola Tesla with VINCI Airports and public-private partnership contract for Vinča landfill with the consortium comprising SUEZ Groupe and I-Environment Investments limited.
The investments in the road infrastructure are underway. Serbian Government announced that the development of new high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest will begin. Construction of the Belgrade metro is also planned.
BDK Advokati in Serbia
BDK Advokati started its operations in Serbia in 2004, when the country was starting to experience political and economic liberalization after almost 15 years of illiberal, autocratic rule of Slobodan Milošević. We started as a full-service corporate law firm and have remained true to that concept. As the transactional, contentious, advisory and regulatory work was piling up, we were constantly expanding practice areas and industry sectors in our focuses. Today our team in Serbia numbers 25 fee earners who cover 20 practice areas and serve clients from virtually every industry sector. We have been involved in major transactions in the country, such as the acquisition of Smederevo steel plant by Chinese Hesteel Group, PPP for the Belgrade Airport, municipal PPP for the development of a waste-to-energy plant in Vinča and the first successfully closed wind power project in Serbia, Kovačica. We assisted BC Partners with the acquisition of regional United Media Group and Nomad Foods with the signing of binding agreements for the acquisition of Frikom/Ledo frozen food business in the SEE. We represented Greek Mytilineos in a landmark investment arbitration against Serbia in which the client secured a USD 40 million award, and Imperial Tobacco in a cartel investigation which was terminated without a finding of infringement. Our data protection team advises companies operating in Serbia and those doing business in Serbian with GDPR compliance. We serve as Google’s data protection representative in Serbia and our DP colleagues serve as BAT’s data protection officer. In 2020, we established human rights practice to engage in strategic litigation and provide legal assistance to vulnerable groups.