The last station of this year’s FMRS® tour in the Balkan Peninsula is Belgrade, one of the oldest cities in Europe and a historical focal point positioned at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The Faculty of Political Sciences again was the venue hosting the Road Show, in the patronage of our local partner for years, the biggest promoter of liberty ideas in Serbia – “Libek”. Unlike in the other cities, here the FMRS® proceeded with different format of the event with two panels and in the end, the keynote speaker.
The first panel embraced debate on growth and why the West is experiencing stagnation. Dr. Richard Zundritsch (Board Member of Hayek Institute and Austrian Economic Center) kick -started this by claiming that “Stagnation is not new. We are discussing about stagnation since 1980”. He sees the problem as that most of the economic growth is generated by bubbles which are created by the big amount of cheap money in circulation, mainly coming from ECB. “Serbia must reform its institutions, ensure better enforcement of the rule of law and embrace economic freedom, which then will lead to economic prosperity and development” summed up Kate Sheehan (Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Free Market Institute).
The local speaker, Prof. Boris Begovic explained the current situation as a “political game standing behind all of it”. “We are back in the Keynesian model but this is dangerous not only for Europe but also for Serbia” he concluded. Then, the floor was left to Pieter Cleppe (Open Europe) who emphasized the fact that the European Union has a profound effect on economic growth in all Europe. “Serbia received €1 billion from EU until now, but the problem is exactly here. In Romania the corruption grew up, as they received more money from EU” explaining that the same will happen in Serbia.
“Living in Serbia is difficult not because it is a bad country, but because it is overregulated” was the final statement that closed the panel, expressed by Dr. Zundritsch.
After refreshments and energy acquired in the lunch break, we were ready for the next panel to discuss entrepreneurship and its enemies, with a focus on Serbia. First to step out was someone coming from the government, Mr. Vladimir Marinkovic (Deputy Speaker of National Assembly of R. of Serbia) and a big supporter of liberty and free market ideas. He defined entrepreneurs as “modern heroes” and acknowledged their significance in creating and adding new values in the society. Furthermore, he declared that “a great enemy of entrepreneurship in Serbia is the lack of ties between entrepreneurs and high educational institutions”.
Kerry Halferty Hardy (Alcuin Advisors LLC) made a comparison between France and Texas, the first one represents a place where entrepreneurship is discouraged and the second is a seat where entrepreneurship flourishes. The last panelist, Alfredo Pasqual (Local coordinator, European Students for Liberty) talked about the new markets for starting and developing businesses that has emerged with the legalization of cannabis cultivation in some countries. He referred to Colorado as a success story, potentiating the fact that with the legalization of cannabis were opened 10 000 new job places.
The FMRS® 2015 conference was closed by our special guest from the USA, Matt Kibbe (President & CEO of Freedomworks). He spoke on the unimaginable proportions of freedom that has brought about the internet and the cheap access to knowledge. Thus, there is a lot of space and opportunities for the young people to act in every aspect. “Social media are the first things that strike the contemporary tyrants when people begin to realize what is happening around them” summarized Kibbe.