Once an aggressive nationalist, today Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vucic is pro-Europe and economy-oriented. The national-conservative politician just returned from opening an important bridge between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In outdoor boots and slightly rushed after the hour and a half hour drive back to Belgrade, Mr. Vucic took time this week to talk with Handelsblatt about the refugee crisis that has seen increased tensions between Belgrade and its neighbors in the Balkans, as well as his admiration for Angela Merkel and plans to get the Serbian economy moving.
Handelsblatt: Mr. Prime Minister, Serbia is the central country on the Balkan route of migrants to Europe. Will the refugee crisis affect your nation’s economic recovery?
Aleksandar Vucic: The recovery is continuing. Next month the European Union will announce that Serbia’s GDP will rise 0.7 percent this year. That’s an improvement from the previous estimates. I see no negative influence on our economy from the refugees.