Serbian minister for infrastructure Milutin Mrkonjic has said Italy was about to invest up to two billion euros in energy projects in Serbia in one of biggest investment deals in the past ten years.
Mrkonjic signed an agreement with Italian minister for economic development Paolo Romani in Rome on Tuesday on cooperation in the field of energy and on building hydro-electric plants on the rivers Drina and Ibar in Serbia.
Mrkonjic was quoted by Serbian media on Wednesday as saying the project would be carried out by Serbia’s state energy giant EPS and Italian companies “Sechi energia” and “Edison”.
Mrkonjic said all electricity produced by about a dozen plants would be exported to Italy and, apart from financial effects, would create new jobs in the country with close to one million unemployed workers.
“All put together, it is clear that Serbia has a great perspective in the field of energy and I dare to say that energy is our biggest chance,” Mrkonjic said.
“This is very important for our country, because we need energy from renewable sources which we can’t produce in our country,” Romani was quoted by Tanjug news agency as saying.
“It is of key importance to import renewable energy from other countries in which Serbia has a special place,” Romani added.
Italy is Serbia’s leading trade partner with total annual trade turnover of some two billion euros. About 200 Italian companies, including Fiat, Benetton and Intesa Bank are already doing business in Serbia, employing about 15,000 people.