Serbia – one of the European countries worst hit by the economic downturn – is trying to convince the International Monetary Fund to let it have the second instalment of a massive bail out loan.
An IMF delegation, which will be in Serbia for just over a week, has met with the Prime Minister as well as the Finance Minister and Labour and Social Policies Minister. The Serbs want the IMF to allow their budget deficit to increase to 4.5 percent of GDP and they are offering to cut public spending further. The IMF would prefer income tax hikes and have pointed out that some of the earlier government measures never happened or were not effective. Serbia has already had 788 million euros of the almost three billion euro loan promised by the IMF in March. The country’s economy is expected to contract by six percent this year.