The Western Balkans countries need almost two centuries to reach an average income in the European Union member states if they progress at such a low growth rate, EBRD Director for the region Zsuzsanna Hargittai said on Wednesday, the Beta news agency reported.
According to her, some of the main reasons for relative lagging of the Western Balkans region are complex business regulations and procedures and significant influence the state has in public enterprises which mostly have unfair advantages compared to private companies.
However, Hargittai said the course could change since the regional countries had well-educated people who could be productive as their peers in Western Europe.
“Better institutions, fewer states’ involvement and more investments in infrastructure are the EBRD primary tasks in helping the region,” she told the Business Magazine.
Hargitai, whose office is in Belgrade, said the EBRD would invest 500 million Euros in Serbia this year with 70 percent allocated for the private sector.
“Our aim is not to increase EBRD investments for the sake of it. We are trying to secure the financing which is not available in the otherwise well-developed banking system in Serbia and to reach the medium and small businesses. We would also like to see better preparations and implementation in public infrastructural projects to get to the wanted results,” Hargittai added.
The new EBRD financing in Serbia through bank loans and leasing companies will mostly go to the green economy, mortgage and trade financing.