quarta-feira, 20 de maio de 2015

Aleksandar Vucic: "we are on the path to the European Union but would like to have good relationship with Russia"

Almost a decade after independence, the country is still trying to solve the problems of the past. The issue of the unilateral independence of the Kosovo province continues to cause tension.

Isabelle Kumar went to Belgrade, capital of Serbia, to discuss these and other issues with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

Aleksandar Vucic: it is not a matter of time but of content and we're doing our best to remain firmly on the path of the European Union, to meet all our obligations and accept European values in our country.

Aleksandar Vucic: because I'm very honest and sincere and not hide anything in front of anyone. There are several politicians in the region and in Eastern Europe or South who petted you, always, EU officials say, always, good stuff. I just say what I think.

Aleksandar Vucic: mentioned in relation to enlargement fatigue... There is also, some patient fatigue in this country. Yes, we made a lot of efforts, we will initiate many endeavors. We invested not only our time, our energy, our political force. We began the toughest and most stringent economic reforms in Serbia. We have made progress in the dialogue with the Kosovo Albanians and we realized that we are not being respected, that it shouldn't be expected but we thought this would be the normal. "

Aleksandar Vucic: I believe that we have achieved a lot, though it was not an easy question for us. It was very difficult but we continued with the dialogue with the Kosovo Albanians. We can conclude, there is very little time, the agreement on justice and the judicial system. We signed an implementation plan, solve a problem of civil protection, solve a problem of municipal budgets in four northern municipalities-municipalities Serbs-in the North of Kosovo. We are still in negotiations on the issues of energy and telecommunications.

Aleksandar Vucic: there's dialogue at the highest level every month, twice or three times a month. But he knew this would happen, because it has the verdict since 1999. It was nothing new for him. Is a kind of political game and nobody was surprised. We speak with each other. I met with him, I believe that some 32 times.

Aleksandar Vucic: you know, when you talk to me, I use a different style. I don't judge others in the region, even if you need to respond. I try to avoid that.

Aleksandar Vucic: lack of political will? But I would like us to see that the Government would be in a position to abolish verdicts? I can't believe it's a kind of democratic value which we can rejoice. It's something that everybody would criticize and that wasn't true. He knows that I was willing to meet with him whenever and wherever he wanted.

Aleksandar Vucic: of course not here because there is that warrant and he knows it from the beginning. Was a kind of political issue for him.

Aleksandar Vucic: it was a terrible provocation, what they did with us. They did it on purpose, at the time, but I think we responded very well. Protect both players as Albanian supporters and no one was injured...

Aleksandar Vucic: it shows that someone wanted to provoke but also shows that we were very calm, we haven't been aggressive and after that, after 70 years, Edi Rama came for the first time, to Belgrade and I received it and found it, a second time, here in Belgrade ... Within 10 or 15 days go to Tirana and this will be the first visit by a Prime Minister of Serbia, after eighty years or something.

Aleksandar Vucic: can't say it but, to be honest, my job is to look after the interests of this country and do something for the good of our people and it does not matter whether it falls into the way of thinking of everyone in this country, or if everyone else would agree or not with anything. We're in charge of handling and delivering real results to the country and we want to have a peaceful and stable region. We need it.

Aleksandar Vucic: I can say that this is the first pillar of the Serbian Government's policy, which is the regional and political stability and we invest a lot. Firstly, for the first time in 70 years, the relationship with Albania is not too bad. We talked several times not only in Brussels, but also here in Belgrade. Now let's continue with our dialogue in Tirana. We do our best to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Republika Srpska is an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and we consider to be fundamental to the stability of the region to establish dialogue with Bosnia. We have a good relationship with the Montenegrins, the best since it broke away from Serbia. We have good relations with Macedonia, with Hungary, to Bulgaria and Romania and created the Krayova group. Serbia has never had a better relationship with the neighbors.

Aleksandar Vucic: Of Course! That's why I'm emphasizing this. You can't kill people's emotions but we have to do something against it.

Aleksandar Vucic: and the 20 anniversary of "Operation Storm", when hundreds of thousands of Serbs were expelled from Croatia is, too, this year.

Aleksandar Vucic: about being Minister of information is very easy to answer. I feel uncomfortable with a bill of information that I proposed at that time. I felt very uncomfortable but I was very honest with my people. It was a pretty stupid information law and confessed this to my people. Said this a thousand times.

Aleksandar Vucic: somehow allowed it. It was not for that purpose and was not deliberate but, anyway, led us to such consequences and that's why I said, openly and publicly. I didn't hide it.

Aleksandar Vucic: but I didn't have anything in common with the wars,

Aleksandar Vucic: was removed from context. Of course I have some stupid statements but that was absolutely removed from context.

Aleksandar Vucic: not like that, not in that context. I wasn't hiding anything. I was talking a lot of stupid things.

Aleksandar Vucic: I think it's very easy to say something against me but I can say that there is complete freedom of the press in the country. Of course you can always improve and I will do my best to ensure that. Can criticize me, the way you want, in every "medias" and there is no problem.

Aleksandar Vucic: no matter what they say, we conciliámos three different laws, three laws on the media, with the European Commission which passed Parliament.

Aleksandar Vucic: that's what I think but it is clear that many people will disagree with me. I'm always ready to hear all their observations and, if possible, to establish better conditions for them. I'm not afraid of that.

Aleksandar Vucic: No. I say to someone, when someone says something that's not true, I just answer. I think that is Democracy. I have the right to say what I think or would this be banned? I think not ...

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia is doing this. We are not yet members of the European Union and we must safeguard our interests. We support the territorial integrity of Ukraine. I think we acted with great responsibility. I talked to Petro Poroshenko. They also support our territorial integrity and. ..

Aleksandar Vucic: we need to safeguard our economic survival and, let's just say that the Netherlands has imposed sanctions on Russia, they will receive billions of aid from the European Union. Will support us with billions for our agricultural products. No, I don't think. This means that we must think of our farmers, our farmers and our State budget.

Aleksandar Vucic: you're talking about that kind of price? Since it is not a kind of equilibrium position. We're on our way to the European Union, which is our strategic goal, but on the other hand, we would like to preserve good relations with Russia. This is not a personal relationship or something.

Aleksandar Vucic: it is not a question of keeping one foot in each camp. We're in our strategic objective which is the path of the European Union, but yes, we would like to have good relations with Russia. I said it publicly on our way to the Union ahead of Putin, as well as very openly said, also ahead of Angela Merkel who would like to preserve good relations with Putin. This is our policy.

Aleksandar Vucic: See the first results and see that the IMF changed his prediction about our growth rate. It was, at first, less one, then minus zero comma five and now is zero. I'm sure it's going to be. Coming out of the recession later this year and when we do that in a year with fiscal consolidation measures, is a species of small miracle and I'm sure we'll get it.

Aleksandar Vucic: we're doing the best we can. It's a case of Serbia, but not only. The same is happening in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and in all countries of South-Eastern Europe. The best way to combat this is to ensure a better business environment in the country in order to change the economic perspectives, giving that kind of hope to our people and that's what we're doing. I hope that in two, three, four or five years, many of these people come back from abroad, because they have the same terms as found in Western European countries.

Aleksandar Vucic: No. I don't want to sound too tired. I thought it was always ready to fight for my ideas, and I might be a little slower than you expect, but I'm always full of energy, ready to fight for a better future for the people of Serbia and I have no problems with that.

Aleksandar Vucic, as Margaret Thatcher used to say: not always popular decisions are the best decisions and these austerity measures that we implement in the works and harsh economic reforms. Not all the measures were welcomed by the Serbs. After all I'm sure the people will realize that these measures were the best that we could take. If you talk about regional stability, reconciliation, people really don't want to hear about it, but I don't care. I'm going to continue, because I believe that this is the best policy and is the only one who will bring actual results. A better future and a better life for the Serbian people.

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