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Serbia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus has triggered a cut in the outlook for 2020, with the Serbian economy forecast to contract 3.1%. Growth will be impacted by external weakness and restrictive domestic social distancing measures. Industrial production will be eroded by the external malaise and supply chain disruptions resulting in temporary closure of some factories, including Fiat’s plant in Kragujevac. The suspension of Kosovo’s tariffs on all Serbian goods exports would modestly boost industrial output.Risks to Serbia’s short-term GDP growth forecast are heavily weighed to the downside as COVID-19 virus spreads to Europe, with implications for household consumption, industrial output, and exports.The ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won a landslide victory in the 26 June general election, securing a two-thirds parliamentary majority. This will ensure a high degree of policy continuity; however, it has also drawn criticisms from the opposition of unfair elections. The government’s decision to reintroduce some new restrictions in the wake of a spike of COVID-19 infections triggered a series of anti-government protests. Although the protests reflect growing disillusionment among a segment of the population, they are unlikely to seriously challenge the current government. 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.
Last update: August 20, 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. In May, Serbia lifted the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus restrictions, but the threat from a second wave means reversals will likely be recurrent.

Last update: July 18, 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: July 18, 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: July 4, 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: July 18, 2020

Social Stability

Elevated

Thousands of protesters took to the streets on 7 and 8 July after President Aleksandar Vučić announced new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. A number of protests on 7 July managed to break through a police cordon before being pushed back by riot police. Although restrictions acted as the trigger, the main likely driver of the protests is the perception among a segment of the population of growing authoritarianism and the infringement of freedom of speech.

Last update: July 18, 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