Serbia – enthusiastic entrepreneurs
Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a country situated at the crossroads between central and southeast Europe. Serbia is landlocked and borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west; it also claims a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, is among Europe’s oldest cities and one of the largest in southeast Europe.
Serbia was the largest constituent republic of the former Yugoslavia. Between 1990 and the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, civil war and the 1999 NATO bombing, followed by economic sanctions, reduced its economy to less than half its previous output. Much of its infrastructure and industrial capacity was destroyed.
Serbia now has an emerging market economy in the upper-middle income range, but has been badly affected by the global economic crisis. After eight years of strong economic growth, Serbia entered the recession in 2009 with negative growth of −3%.
The labour force is 1.703 million, of whom 59.6% are employed in services sector, 23.9% are employed in the agriculture and 16.5% are employed in industry. Unemployment remains an acute problem, with a rate of 20.1% as of 2013.
Business negotiations can proceed slowly on account of the cumbersome bureaucracy but Serbian entrepreneurs have a reputation for being forward-thinking and are keen to forge business links with Western Europe. Communication is not a major problem as English is popular as a second language.
In 2008, the Government of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Serbia has rejected Kosovo’s declaration of independence as illegal, but most EU member countries have granted recognition. Many Serbs feel strongly about Kosovo, with many opposed to its declared independence – beware of entering sensitive political discussions with your business partners.
Share your Serbian business experiences
Sources: Wikipedia, World Travel Guide