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BELGRADE (Serbia), December 18 (SeeNews) - Serbia's finance minister Dusan Vujovic said the government aims to reduce the public debt to below 56.3% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.
In this way, Serbia will meet the euro convergence criteria under which the debt-to-GDP ratio must not exceed 60% of GDP, Vujovic said, as quoted in a statement by the government on Friday.
Serbia also expects its government budget deficit to stabilise at 0.5% of GDP in the medium term. The economic growth is expected to stand at 3.5% in 2018, before accelerating to 4% in 2020, Vujovic said during the presentation of the Economic Reforms Programme (ERP) for the period between 2018 and 2020.
The ERP 2018-2020 envisages structural reforms in nine key areas in the framework of Chapter 4 - Free Movement of Capital in its membership negotiations with the European Union (EU), Vujovic said.
The nine areas are public finance management, energy market and transport reform, sectoral development, business environment and the fight against the gray economy, research, development and innovation (RDI) and digital economy, trade reforms, education and skills, employment and labour markets, as well as social inclusion, poverty reduction and equal opportunities, he added.
In its assessment under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) issued last year, the European Commission (EC) said Serbia is moderately prepared in the area of free movement of capital, but should further liberalise short-term capital movements and upgrade its legislation, reinforce supervision and strengthen the administration for the prevention of money laundering.
Serbia's central government debt decreased to 24.3 billion euro ($28.6 billion) at the end of October from 24.82 billion euro at the end of 2016, according to finance ministry data.