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Serbia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Serbia has introduced a state of emergency and curfews in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak, severely limiting the freedom of movement of its citizens. In response to the outbreak, the authorities have also postponed the general election that was originally scheduled for 26 April. A decision on the new date will likely be taken after the state of emergency has been lifted. The government's actions continue to be governed by the objective of achieving EU membership with some steps made in improving the business environment and the labour market. However, Serbia is still to achieve significant progress in strengthening the public administration, judiciary independence, the governance of state-owned enterprises and the anti-corruption framework. EU membership would also require normalisation of relations with Kosovo, the independence of which Serbia does not recognise. We forecast GDP growth at 3.6% in 2019 and 2020. Domestic demand will remain the main growth driver in 2019–20, supported by improvements in the labour market, rising wages, including an increase of the minimum wage by 9% as of January 2019, a reversal of crisis-era pension cuts, and the increased availability of consumer credit. Investment is forecast to contribute to growth as credit availability improves amid falling non-performing loans, the low interest rate environment, and inflows of foreign direct investment. The main risks to our forecast include a slowdown in the euro area, Serbia’s main export partner, and an escalation in regional trade protectionism, after Kosovo imposed 100% tariffs on all goods imports from Serbia in November 2018.
Last update: March 24, 2020

Operational Outlook

The quality of the infrastructure and the workforce is generally adequate. One important hurdle to conducting business in Serbia is the country's oversized bureaucracy, which remains generally inefficient. Corruption and organised crime remain a persistent problem in business circles and across nearly all sectors of the public administration. Some progress has been made in simplifying procedures for issuing construction permits and adopting business-friendly changes to the labour law.

Last update: March 19, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

Security incidents are likely to be concentrated along Serbia's border with Kosovo, although they are primarily likely to involve illegal logging rather than terrorism. In Sandžak, there is a moderate risk of local Islamist extremists attacking assets or officials affiliated with rival Islamic communities or the state.

Last update: March 19, 2020

Crime

Organised crime is a significant problem in Serbia. Criminal networks maintain links with politicians, bureaucrats and security officials, and far-right organisations. Corruption and poor resources within the security services hinder effective law enforcement and prosecution of crimes, in turn facilitating the further entrenchment of these networks. Despite regular calls for crackdowns on organised crime and corruption, the political will to tackle these issues is lacking.

Last update: March 19, 2020

War Risks

Serbia has improved bilateral relations with neighbouring states, most of which are members or aspiring members of NATO, reducing therefore interstate war risks. The primary risk of armed conflict is related to Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in February 2008; Serbia does not recognise Kosovo's statehood. However, EU-facilitated negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo have opened the way for piecemeal normalisation of bilateral relations, although a complete thaw is unlikely without political recognition. The risk of interstate war would increase if Serbia's prospects for EU membership diminished significantly as a result of enlargement fatigue.

Last update: March 19, 2020

Social Stability

Elevated

The concentration of power in the hands of President Aleksandar Vučić and the infringement on freedom of speech will continue to trigger anti-government protests by organisations such as Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd. However, the ability of opposition groups to organise a mass movement and seriously challenge the government is limited, as evidenced by the abating number of protesters participating in the "1 od 5 Miliona" (1 in 5 Million) protest movement that is demanding fair elections.

Last update: March 3, 2020

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Serbia has a continental climate. Winters are cold (0°C) and dry. Summers are hot, humid, and often rainy.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +381
Police: 192
Fire Dept.: 193
Ambulance: 194

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: December 2, 2019