30. May 2017

Vucic "wants to be remembered like Schroeder in Germany"

The Serbian government would not have been able to do anything if there were not for citizens and their support, says Aleksandar Vucic. Vucic, who will take the oath as Serbia's new president on Wednesday, on Tuesday held his last press conference as prime minister. Speaking in front of Villa Mir in Belgrade, he recalled that 2014 was an extremely difficult year, when Serbia was hit by devastating floods - and a year from which his government emerged "without a single affair." "We spent all the money making new cities, towns, villages," said Vucic. He thanked outgoing President Tomislav Nikolic for supporting the government "in the harshest measures of consolidation", as well as ministers and public servants who "worked and didn't whine." According to him, the reputation of Serbia today is significantly higher "than it has ever been." However, Vucic continued, he is "still not satisfied and we have much more to do." Speaking about the international community, Vucic said that Serbia's goal "should not be only Western Europe - although the EU is one of the main objectives - but also to have strongest relations with Russia, China and the US." "We have been protecting our interests through the talks on Kosovo and Metohija, but much that is not easy awaits us in the future. It is important that we have been conducting a decisive and reasonable policy of preserving peace and stability," Vucic said. When it comes to the military and the police, he said that much has been done in the form of procurement of equipment and weapons, while "the plan is to continue the same way, because the goal of the government of Serbia is to have a modern army, which should be the prevention of attacks and aggression, as well as a modern police, which will confront and fight the most serious forms of crime - and to understand that the state is the only one that has a monopoly on physical force." Vucic also touched on what has been done in the field of culture, sports and education, which he said he has not had much opportunity to mention. "In sport we have, compared to the last 12, 13 years, won two or three times more medals. One of the reasons is that we have invested a lot more money," said Vucic. He also invited all social actors to join the government and engage in a comprehensive reform of education, "because it is a very important issue that the government is not able to complete alone." Speaking about EU accession negotiations, Vucic said Serbia faces "great struggle" over chapters 22 and 23. "The Ministry of Justice should accelerate activities," he added. "It is also important to fill all regulatory bodies engaged in the fight against corruption, and to adopt appropriate laws. This is necessary, not only for our sake, but also for foreign investors, who find it very important," Vucic said. On the foreign policy front, Vucic said that Serbia will continue on its path towards the EU, but it will keep its traditional friends. "In the coming months we expect to open new chapters on the road towards the EU," said Vucic. Speaking about changes to the Constitution, he said it was "our obligation in accordance with the (EU) chapters that we have opened." "I'm ready to involve all parties, to consider where we see Serbia in 20 or 30 years - not us in politics, but Serbia. If possible, to achieve a consensus about it - but someone forcing it through and adopting it against the will of the people, that you won't see. " "I did not lie to citizens, better times are coming every day," he also said during the news conference. In addition, Vucic said that his message to the people of Serbia and the future government is "to believe in themselves, to love their Serbia and have faith in it." "I believed in Serbia, I believe in it, and always will. I am certain that Serbia will be a good place to live," said Vucic. Vucic also said that he "does not intend to rule for ten years," and that he would like to be remembered in Serbia "like Gerhard Schroeder is remembered in Germany." Replying to reporters' questions, he said he will soon announce when he plans to step down as SNS party leader. @b92

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