There is a reticent rule in parliamentary democracy that the opposition should not criticize the work of a government during the first one hundred days. This is the deadline left for a new government to embark on the realization of its programme and the goals it has set and for which it received the support of the electorate. One’s first impression is that the new Serbian government will not take such a long time to show what it intends to do. Mladen Bijelić has more.
Serbia is going through a very complex economic situation, so there is no time left for delaying the numerous problems, especially economic ones, but also the issue of the status of Kosovo and Metohija. Aware of that fact, the new government, the core of which is formed by coalitions around the Serbian Progressive Party and the Socialist Party of Serbia, has launched numerous activities. In his presidential campaign, the then leader of the Serbian Progressive Party, Tomislav Nikolić, stressed his intention of being the president of all the citizens and so, before officially taking presidential office, resigned to his position in the Progessive Party. He promised he would comply with the Serbian Constitution and would nto recognize independence of Kosovo, which he put it clear in Brussels, where he went for his first official visit. He insists on a consensus of political parties on that issue and, as he promised the citizens, he obtained an answer from EU officials to the question what the previous government undertook to do in talks with Pristina, with international mediation. He also launched the initiative of including the UN more actively in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, which met with positive reactions in some international circles.
Serbian PM Ivica Dačić announced larger investments in the energy sector and especially in agriculture, which he assessed as Serbia’s strategic economic branch. He announced that the ministries would no longer act on the principle of party feuds, to which representatives of other political parties can have no access. It is in the interest of Serbian citizens that we act efficiently, as a successful team, as much has been missed and citizens’ expectations have been failed for the most part, he emphasized.
Defence Minister Aleksandar Vučić, who is also in charge of security and battle against crime and corruption, announced that citizens would be very soon assured of the state’s resolution to fight corruption and crime. No one must be protected, regardless who they are, said Vučić, assessing this, along with strong institutions, as a pledge for the future. Very soon, an affair in Agrobanka bank, where the state, as the majority owner, lost some 300 million euros because it had granted loans without appropriate repayment guarantees, was revealed. Charges were pressed against several persons, but the public expects the key players in the politics and business sphere who gave orders for granting such loans to certain persons and companies to be exposed. Economist Miroslav Prokopijević tells agency Beta that the former govenor of the National Bank of Serbia, Dejan Šoškić, is not the key person in this affair. He has been exposed to media harrangue because he has no politica protection and is not a party member, whereas it is much more difficult to attack some former ministers, says Prokopijević.
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić chose Cyprus as the destination of his first official visit as Cyprus is currently presiding the EU and is one of the five EU member-states that have not recognized Kosovo. He has received assurances from his Cypriot counterpart that their stand will not change.
Economy and Finance Minister Mlađan Dinkić announced financial consolidation, agriculture minister Goran Knežević announced investmetns in new projects and the improvement of agricultural infrastructure, while Trade Minister Rasim Ljajić and his team are to embark on another round of difficult negotiations with the IMF on the approval of new credit tranches, whereas Health Minister Slavica Đukić-Dejanović is announcing a new system of assessment of doctors, to be in proportion with the number of patients they examine daily and to be applied as of October.
Such a beginning seems to awake hope that the time of radical changes at all levels has come, which is something Serbia has been waiting for decades.