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The Buzz in Serbia: Interview with Djordje Novcic of Jankovic Popovic Mitic

The Buzz in Serbia: Interview with Djordje Novcic of Jankovic Popovic Mitic

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“This was an election year for Serbia, and as a result we had a technical government for a very long time,” says Djordje Novcic, Partner at Jankovic Popovic Mitic in Belgrade, referring to the four-month-long period of deliberation before the new government was finally formed on October 28.

There has not been much legislative activity otherwise, Novcic reports, which he attributes to the slowness of the political process. Still, he says, draft laws reorganizing the judiciary and the administrative sector are expected to be voted on by the end of the year.

In addition to its effects on the legislature, the systematic sluggishness also affected the economy. “Foreign investors have become more cautious about investing in the country,” Novcic says, though he notes that the government is trying to make amends in that department. To that effect, he says, “Serbia signed the Washington Agreement at the end of October, as a result of which the US International Development Finance Corporation opened its office in Belgrade.” The arrival of a new investor was welcome, Novcic reports, adding that the IDFC is expected to invest millions of dollars in the years to come.

The pandemic and the elections notwithstanding, the economic outlook for Serbia is not grim, in Novcic’s opinion. “Our economy did not take a huge hit, and we can see large infrastructure projects are still under way,” he says, pointing to the construction of the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway and the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. “It is also very clear that the pandemic gave rise to the IT, pharmaceuticals, and online retail sectors,” he says.

Another area on the rise in Serbia is arbitration, Novic reports. “There has been a growing interest of business entities to resolve disputes through arbitration,” he says, due in part to the “adaptability of arbitration tribunals, which were able to continue their proceedings via the implementation of new technologies even during the state of emergency.”

Novcic sounds optimistic even about the industry which suffered the most at the hands of the pandemic – tourism — and says that he believes it will reemerge with help from the government. Ultimately, though, Novcic says that “the full effect of the pandemic remains to be seen in the coming years.”

JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic at a Glance

The oldest full service commercial law firm in Serbia, founded in 1991, JPM with three decades of experience in assisting local and international businesses presence and growth not only in Serbia but throughout the SEE region.

We have accumulated a wealth of knowledge in every industrial and corporate sector, from energy to banking, transport, manufacturing and telecommunications, while remaining true to a pioneering spirit that has always drawn us to follow the latest trends and developments in providing of our services to clients. Today we use the latest legal tech available in serving our clients and are expanding our services to clients from growing industries such as renewable energy, IT and life sciences, by offering innovative solutions and a pro-active approach to broaching new grounds.

Our expertise, experience, and commitment to professional excellence mean we are routinely involved in landmark cases and transactions, while our high standing among clients and peers sees us ranked among the leading law firms by independent guides such as Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, and IFLR1000.

We are known for working closely with clients and treating their problems as our own. Our lawyers pride themselves on being team players, fast and available, specialised in terms of practice area and industry, but versatile and creative in their thinking. We believe our advice should be tailor-made and that even the thorniest issue has a legal solution.

Our membership of Lex Mundi (the world’s premiere network of independent law firms) and the TLA (a regional alliance of leading firms from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia) means we have close working relationships with first-rate firms throughout the region and around the world, enabling us to operate as the perfect hub for SEE and other multi-jurisdictional transactions.

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