- Posted October 23, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
LEADERS IN SERBIA : Prof. Dr. Igor Novakovic
Serbia is on its way towards European Union, but how close is Serbia to EU in reality?
I think that Serbia has never been closer to the EU - and that is a fact . First of all, we have recently initialed agreement between Belgrade and Pristina , as one of the essential preconditions on the road to European integration. We have confirmation of all relevant factors and people from the European Union that we are moving in the right direction and that they will help us on the way. All this has not happened before. The reforms of the country are in full swing , and the fight against corruption and crime , as it turned out ,is the result of hard work of Serbian Government.
Is the campaign against corruption an honest fight against crime in Serbia or fight for a better position in the next elections ?
I personally think that the struggle of the authorities against organized crime and corruption is not a simple political marketing campaign for a better position in the next election . Rather , the key people in this struggle - Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia , Ivica Dacic and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic - very often "hit" politically and economically important people from the previous Government. Regardless , they did not waver even for a moment . I think they will succeed in their attempt, if not to completely eradicate this phenomenon, then to seriously disrupt the flow of criminal activities by a certain circle of people and combat corruption. Arrests of key people in the business, until recently, " businessman " who believed that they are untouchable, actually they cut branches throughout their network and their associates. And how will this affect the elections , we will see . It can be called and the fight for a better position in the Government , why not . But it will be, above all, the conquest of power based on visible results that will bring prosperity to all citizens of Serbia.
Does Serbia today has a sincere and true Government , since all parties at some level participate in governing the country?
It is now fairly . From the standpoint of the opposition, which is always a critical mood, the government needs to be constantly criticized. People are often critical because of difficult lives because a state can not be repaired overnight.
Measure of value, for me, are reviews that the Serbian Government receives from European officials , because its success measure the importance of the steps that are taken on the road to Europe. And right there in recent times came very positive reviews. I recently heard that Miroslav Lajcak , Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia , said that " The Government of Serbia has exceeded all expectations of the European Union ." Such reviews we rarely had the chance to hear before.
As for the several parties in the government, in my opinion, it is the matter of quality. It means that all makers of Government policies are set to succeed, regardless of the different political views, they are taking a common stand on issues that are of general importance - the state and the nation. I think that Serbia at this point really has an honest Government, but the people are still suspicious and cautious. It is a painstaking process in which the Government, led by Prime Minister Ivica Dacic practically every day has to prove itself.
In your opinion, how much are Serbian people interested in politics compared to some ordinary, everyday things in life ?
Most of Serbia's citizens sre interested in ordinary things. In the first place - they want to live better. They want to work , to earn and provide for the basic needs of their families. Why wouldnt they go every summer to the sea, and every winter to skiing. They are interested in the politics as to blame politicians for everything they now dont have. Part of the citizens are interested in high politics. They are interested in an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, and similar major public concerns. But I think the citizens of Serbia who have lived in bad coditions for a very long time, most importantly want to see away out of economic crisis. At least a little . To feel that they are citizens of Europe, because the long-term isolation of the country has made them loose their dignity and a sense of true values.
European values as a condition for the European Union or the European values as the engine of reform of Serbia ?
Both. Without the adoption of European standards and European system of values we cant enter into the European Union. At the same time, if we do not respect European values we cannot successfully implement reforms, and reforms are a prerequisite for progress and entry into the European Union. It is not true that the citizens of Serbia do not want to accept the European standards. On the contrary. They just do not want a mixture of everything. They want to respect the rules and principles, but these rules need to apply to all and not be selective. The adoption of European values is necessary to establish a system that works well. People will respect their obligations, prescribed by the rules of Europe, but seek to have the same rights as Europeans. In this segment, the state has to show and prove .
How to promote business in Serbia?
Globally increase the competitiveness of the economy and the private sector in Serbia, improve the business environment, improve public financial management and strengthening of capital markets. At the same time I believe that every individual in the stat, especially those in position of responsibility and key roles, to take their responsibility by engaging more and to contribute more.
I am director of one of the largest and most powerful companies in southeastern Serbia and i can can responsibly say that - that's possible. If a man knows,he can and he will. When I came to this head office at company ED "Jugoistok", which operates in national system EPS, it was in the process to seek a loan of 20 million euros for the current liquidity. For several months we have stabilized liquidity, havd enough money to pay for salaries to employees, investment and ongoing maintenance. We paid all claims and now we are solvent at 6.5 million. Analyzing that, to promote business in Serbia, i start from myself. Everyone has to go on from what he can do and how he can contribute at this time. They can not all contribute alike, but every brick in this building is of great importance. It should be just a start.
What kind of cooperation have Serbia and the United States?
I think that cooperation is better now than it was before. There is more understanding and contacts that promote political and economic cooperation between the two countries .Let's say, in the annual State Department report on terrorism it is said that Serbia over the past year continued to opposing international terrorism and it has been working closely with the United States .And that's good. I am also proud of the fact that Serbia, except entering the EU, has also an important task of cooperation with the United States and with Russia and is seeking ways and opportunities to cooperate with the East and the West. I am a supporter of rational policy making, without entering in the emotional elements. We must not keep lying to ourselves and others. So often I quote Mark Twain 's " The main difference between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives. "
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