In a two-hour-long televised speech, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić presented the “Leap into the Future – Serbia 2027” last night, which envisages six priorities: raising the living standard in the country, accelerated modernization of the country, development of infrastructure, industrialization, agriculture, the environment, integral development and Expo 2027.
Key components of the plan involve significant investments in infrastructure, including the construction of hundreds of kilometres of motorways, railways, schools, nurseries, hospitals and mines. President Vučić highlighted the importance of maintaining peace within the country and sending a clear signal that Serbia remains committed to its European path, ultimately aspiring to join the European Union.
The following are the outlines of the plan’s main points.
“The total value of everything we created in 2023 was 33 billion, and at the end of 2027, the gross domestic product will be over EUR 92 billion. We could reach 100 billion with more favourable geopolitical conditions, so, three times more than it used to be,” said Vučić and added: “In February, we will present what we will do for the army and other security agencies. In the next three and a half years, we plan to invest a total of EUR 17.8 billion in these projects.”
As for salaries, he said that, in December 2024, the average salary is expected to be EUR 958, and in 2025, the average salary in Serbia would exceed EUR 1,000 for the first time, Vučić projected.
“Our goal is to reach EUR 1,400 in December 2027”, the president, said, adding:” There is also the possibility of increasing the minimum wage to EUR 800, but that would bring about many problems with investors and serious countries like Serbia can’t allow that to happen.”
Regarding pensions, he said that, in 2023, the average pension was EUR 391 and that it is expected to jump to EUR 650 by the end of 2027. “This will be a quantum leap, a leap into the future for pensioners,” said Vučić.
“Export of ICT sector in 2027 to be EUR 10 billion”
This item was presented by the Serbian Science Minister, Jelena Begović and Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić who said that in 2024, Serbian ICT sector’s exports would amount to EUR 3.5 billion.
“Nowadays, we produce and export in a month what we used to in a year. What we will do in 2027 is a quantum leap compared to everything we’ve done so far. Our exports will be EUR 10 billion then. That means that 140,000 people will be employed in this sector,” Brnabić added and continued:”
“EUR 450 million will be spent on the construction of the BIO4 Campus. The best researchers, professors, students, but also our companies, will work there on improving the lives of the citizens, that is, on better healthcare, modern therapies, efficient agriculture, better quality food and overall, a higher quality of life,” said Begović.
The prime minister pointed out that Serbia was one of the 11 countries to implement the basics of artificial intelligence in the curriculum and that it was part of the global partnership for artificial intelligence.
“We are ready, but we have to work more and faster. That is why, in the coming period, by 2027, we will invest around EUR 70 million and an additional 30 million for the new supercomputer,” Brnabić noted.
The Prime Minister also said that EUR 150 million would be spent on new science and technology parks in Niš, Kruševac, Čačak, and Kragujevac, but also on the expansion of the existing science and technology parks in Belgrade and Novi Sad.
“Increased Availability of Innovative Drugs”
President Vučić announced that, as of mid-2024, patients will have all sorts of innovative drugs at their disposal that one could find only in countries like Germany, France or Spain. “In the next three years, we should increase the budget for treatment of rare diseases and innovative medications by more than EUR 200 million gradually – 85 million in the first year, then 150, and finally 200 million,” Vučić announced.
“487km of motorways in next three years”
As for the roads, Vučić said that, from 2012 to date, a total of 468km of motorways had been completed, and until 2027, another 427km would be done, amounting to more than 900 kilometres in the past 15 years. The plan is for another 487km of motorways to be done in the next three years, announced Vučić.
“The Kosevi to Preljina segment will be done by 2025. The next is Pakovrace-Pozega, 19.5km remains of that road, and that will be done by October this year. The Sremska Raca-Kuzmin section, 19km long, with the bridge in Sremska Raca, will be completed by the end of 2025. The Fruska Gora Corridor, a total of 47.5 km, will be done by June 2026. Then we have the Sabac-Loznica section, it will be completed soon, followed by the Danube Corridor, Pozarevac-Golubac section, which is 68 kilometres long, that will be fully completed by 2026. The ring road around Novi Sad will be completed in two and a half years. There are difficulties with the construction of the Belgrade-Zrenjanin-Novi Sad road, but it will still be done much before EXPO starts,” Vučić added.
“Over 2,000km of railroads planned”
When it comes to the rail infrastructure, the Serbian President said that over 2,000km was planned to be built or reconstructed in the next period.
“By the end of this year, it will take an hour and 12-13 minutes to get from Belgrade centre to Subotica centre by rail, while it will take an hour and 45 minutes to get to Niš from Belgrade by train,” Vučić said and added that there were many obsolete railroads in Serbia “which will have to be reconstructed and a lot will be invested in water traffic as well.”
“Continuation of subsidies to companies”
Vučić also confirmed that the Serbian government would continue subsidizing companies with long-term plans for investments in Serbia.
“Higher subsidies and additional loans”
As for agriculture, it was announced that the subsidies for the agrarian sector would grow 70% in the coming four year, and according to Vučić, the subsidies for livestock, milk and dairy products will grow the fastest.
“Without Bistrica power plant, there will be no electricity”
Vučić also stated that Serbia would invest “more than ever” in energy and estimated that, Serbia “won’t have enough electricity” unless the reversible hydropower plant Bistrica is built.
“We have large-scale projects related to the construction of self-balancing solar power plants, as well as the Kostolac wind farm,” the president said.
Construction of gas and oil capacities
Vučić went on to say that the Serbia-Hungary oil pipeline is currently being built, as is the gas interconnection in the direction of North Macedonia.
“We have to build two gas facilities, as well as a facility near the gas field Cestereg. No one is asking where our electricity is coming from and why there are no problems with it. Well, there are no problems since we are producing enormous amounts of gas, even for electricity. In the cold days, we are now spending up to 17.5 million cubic metres of gas,” Vučić said.
“Decision on lithium mining to be made by the new government”
Vučić also said that the decision on the exploitation of lithium would be made by the new government.
“The previous government did not accept my idea as they had a different opinion, or it was easier for them for it not to accept it, due to street protests against lithium mining,” Vučić noted.
He also said that Serbia had valuable calcite and molybdenum deposits and that professors from the Faculty of Mining should be hired to investigate these deposits, because “Serbia is lagging a lot in mining of calcite and molybdenum”.
Finance Minister Siniša Mali was next to talk about the activities on the construction of facilities for EXPO 2027. “In 2027, Serbia will be centre of the world. Belgrade beat America, Thailand and Argentina to host this event. This is a big privilege for us”, said Mali.
He said that EXPO facilities will span 250 hectares of land and that in addition to the facility that will host the event itself, a residential complex, a water centre and a national stadium will be built there. and that the necessary water and sewer networks were being installed and that everything had to be completed by December 2026.
“New bridge by 2027”
According to Mali, Belgrade will get a new rail station in Novi Beograd that will be connected with the main bus station, which will become operational in the next several months.
(Politika, Blic, 21.01.2024)
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