BIRN Fact Check: Is Serbia a World Leader for Foreign Investment?

Serbian news agency Tanjug reported on Monday afternoon that according to a ranking in the Financial Times, Serbia is first in the world for attracting foreign direct investments in relation to the size of its economy.

This rapidly became national news and the claim was republished by most Serbian media and commented upon by Serbian officials, who credited their own policies for the apparent success.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Tanjug that "the decision of the respected British Financial Times to declare Serbia the world champion in attracting foreign direct investment for the second time in three years is the result of reforms implemented and confirmation that Serbia is a completely different country today than the one found by this government [when it came to power] in 2012".

President Aleksandar Vucic took up the theme on Tuesday, saying that this means that companies around the world will now check out the conditions for investing in Serbia.

"Now you have got confirmation in the most respectable newspaper in the world that is working on this topic, which means that there is no serious world or European company that will not look at what is the situation in the country, how are the subventions [given by the government], how much state support [is offered] and how is the workforce," Vucic told state broadcaster RTS.

He added that last year 3.6 billion euros were invested in Serbia from abroad and that in 2019 there will be even more.

However, as officials boasted of their economic success, commentators on social media started to find flaws in the Serbian media's reporting of the story.

BIRN took a closer look at the issue to see if any of the claims were fully grounded in reality.

A 'Financial Times...

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