German car maker Volkswagen is rumoured to be considering a manufacturing plant in Serbia, according to a high-ranking political source within the ruling President’s own party. A reliable and well-placed senior party official has revealed to W!LD RooSTeR that Serbia’s Democratic Party (Demokratska stranka/DS) is poised to announce a major deal with Volkswagen, which is clearly being timed to add much-needed impact to the party’s election campaign.
If Serbia does manage to attract this latest major motor manufacturer it could prove to be a game changing ace for President Boris Tadić to hold up his sleeve. It should also bestow a great advantage on the DS party if such a significant international deal to benefit the national economy and signal a higher profile for Serbia could be sealed and announced in the final run-up to Serbia’s national and presidential elections on May 6.
To add credibility to the strong rumour, which has been repeated by more than one source, President Tadić took time out from his hectic election campaigning to visit Germany. While attending the Hannover Messe to promote Serbian business and investment opportunities, Tadićmet with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the weekend.
“We have succeeded at bringing Bosch to Serbia and I hope we will be successful with Siemens as well and I am sure that, after that, we can increase the chances for the arrival of one of the German car makers,’ President Tadić was quoted as saying recently. The DS party has also made clear its belief that Serbia is an attractive destination for the car production industry.
Serbia is in the grip of an election campaign where each party seems to promise a brave new future for the country but is being crippled by a lack of believability by an electorate who have heard it all before and have trouble trusting it this time round. The young vote is especially problematic, with a majority of first-time voters disillusioned by recent politics and voter turnout is predicted to be low, next month.
Volkswagen would be a major win for Serbia and the government. Substantial business and trade incentives should make the imminent deal more palatable to Volkswagen and ensure that investment and jobs pour into Serbia, just as was seen with Fiat. When the Italian car manufacturer arrived in Kragujevac it was rightly heralded as a major win for Serbia and, so far, the signs are strong that Fiat is in it for the long haul. As well as the obvious benefits of jobs at a new plant, the company has gone on to employ a whole net of subcontractors and deliver knock-on benefits to the town and region. If it comes to be, Volkswagen’s arrival in Serbia should deliver even greater rewards.
If Volkswagen is served up on a plate to the Serbian electorate, it would be an echo of Demokratska stranka’s previous election tactics of saving its winning hand until the final gameplay.