Serbia has advanced five places on the list of the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2018, ranking 65th amongst 140 countries. According to the report, based on the analysed institutional, political, economic and other indicators Serbia has a total score of 60.9 points, which is 1.7 points better than last year. Of the countries from the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia was ranked 35th with 69.6 points, while Croatia dropped two places to the 68th position (60.1 points). Montenegro climbed two positions to 71st place (59.6 points). Macedonia, which was not ranked last year due to inaccessible data, ranks this year in the 84th position with a score of 56.6 points, while Bosnia and Herzegovina slipped one place to the 91st position with a score of 54.2 points.
The US ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott has reiterated that Kosovo is an independent country with the US’s full support. Scott added that Belgrade and Priština should continue their talks to reach a longstanding agreement, IBNA reports. “The two sides should remain focused on finding a solution and they will have our full support on this. I know this is a sensitive issue, but the US position on Kosovo is not something new”, ambassador Scott said. Scott’s comments come after Serbia criticised his earlier statement that Kosovo is a sovereign state, and not a “so-called” state, as it is often referred to by Serbian politicians and media.
Croatia’s finance minister Zdravko Marić said the state guarantees given to Uljanik shipyard in Pula will inevitably have an impact on public finances, amounting to about HRK 2.5bn by the end of this year, with the total debt for guarantees being HRK 4.25bn. There are two options currently being considered on how to resolve the one-year long crisis at Uljanik group: enter the restructuring program or declare bankruptcy with a possibility for reorganisation. Responding to a question by a journalist regarding the great possibility of Uljanik going into liquidation and what that will mean for the state budget in terms of guarantees, Marić said “that means we have to pay,” according to Croatia’s daily Večernji List.
A third summit of transport ministers from China and 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe is being held in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade this week.The so-called 16+1summitis a Chinese government initiative to promote business and investment relations between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.Opening the summit, Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, said thatconnecting the regionis crucial for the progress butthe territories of former Yugoslavia remain badly connected. “There is no motorway or railway connecting Bosnia and Herzegovina with Serbia; the situation is similar with Montenegro and Romania and slightly better with Bulgaria and Macedonia”, Vučić pointed out. He emphasised that by utilising the Chinese Belt and Road initiative, connections in the region can be vastly improved, IBNA reports.