Economy Finance

Investment in Serbia sets records, despite EU resistance

The surreal reality of business in wartime with an aspiring-EU member-yet-somehow neutral border state was made evident over the weekend with worries over an eventual “total” cut off of Russian gas, accusations that the EU is threatening to scupper business in Serbia, but still more announcements from production plants eager to move to Serbia no matter the EU stance–and ironically Serbia is on track for a record year with regard to FDI.

First the bad news: not surprisingly, somewhat beleaguered President Aleksandar Vucic countered accusations from opposition MPs who called EU accession a “children’s story,” re-affirming the need for Serbia to join the EU. Yet he also referred to bullying tactics by the same union, which has all but demanded that Serbia recognize Kosovo to keep accession hopes alive.

Vucic remained adamant that this will not happen, although he himself could offer no solution. This hard stand, however, also came at a time when he voiced fears of a complete gas cut off to Europe—a worry that is hardly far-fetched as Russian President Vladimir Putin has already proven to be the ultimate model of unpredictability.

Meanwhile, predicted expenditures are rising, with Serbia reportedly slated to spend EUR 3 bln on energy imports over the next six months to counter heating costs for local consumers, according to the Serbian Ministry of Energy, as cited by Reuters.

Yet despite the negative headlines, there has been a silver lining—perhaps due to Serbia’s realism with regard to the war and energy issues, not to mention its willingness to find at least stop-gap solutions.

For Serbia has been quietly setting records with regard to said investment, with the national bank having stated that by end-July 2022 approximately EUR 2 bln in FDI having rolled in—and all indications are that this remains a steady trend.

Serbia Monthly has documented recent investments, but this was reaffirmed with a Friday announcement, as cited by that the Serbian branch of construction supply producer Baumit would increase production in Arandjelovac and move a mixing plant from Slovenia to Serbia some time this year. Austrian-based Baumit currently operates in 28 countries world-wide.

The Serbian National Bank noted that the structure of FDI was stable—and intriguing—over the first half of the year, but in fact China has made the biggest play with investment of EUR 234 mln, followed by Switzerland with EUR 115.5 mln, the UK with EUR 56.4 mln and Germany with EUR 56.4 mln.

Photo credit: Serbian inister of the Economy Zorana Mihajlovic photo by Medija centar Beograd –, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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