News archive - Citizens Will Have a Sigh of Relief, End for Scoundrels - article by Secretary General of Regional Cooperation Council

The following article by Goran Svilanović for the Danas daily discusses regional cooperation, EU integration, SEE 2020 and Serbia in this context.

Economic and financial crisis, along with the difficult heritage of 1990’s, show the fragility of transitional democracy. The struggle to advance and lagging behind are continuously taking turns in our region. The average GDP in the region is just 38% of the EU average.
It is a terrifying figure. It means that the gap between Serbia and EU is constantly deepening. The potential for frustrations, protests and instability is thus increasing. This is not in the interest of Serbia.
Opening of negotiations on Serbia’s entry into the EU and the commencement of negotiations on Stabilisation and Accession Agreement for Kosovo* linked with it, are extremely important as they bring concrete opportunities to lessen lagging behind of the economy. Negotiations are the key. From the moment negotiations open, EU ceases to be a political slogan and becomes everyday of state administration. EU accession process becomes the process of
reforming the country.
At the beginning of negotiations, Chapter 23 and Chapter 24 are opened relating to the rule of law implementation and anti-corruption respectively. Serbia’s citizens will finally have a sigh of relief. At that moment, the EU will become the best ally to the citizens who have seen too much roguery and feel incapable of raising their voice against the so-called political elite. Two former Yugoslav Republics have become EU members, Slovenia and just these days Croatia.
Two of their former prime ministers have been convicted of corruption. It is the direct result of alliance with the EU. The commencement of negotiations with the EU means the beginning of an end for scoundrels who have named themselves – transitional winners. In terms of politics, progress towards the EU will give Serbia the opportunity to strengthen alliances in wider European area and will enable Serbia to, due to its geostrategic position, remain an important link between North and South of Europe, European West and European East.
SEE 2020 strategy which the RCC is preparing is our contribution to overcoming economic crisis in the region. The main target of SEE 2020 is increase in employment. Without it, there is no improvement of living conditions of the citizens. Competitiveness and development, with naturally EU accession is being brought back into the region’s focus.
The main targets of SEE 2020 are: employment growth by 12%, increase in mutual trade in the region by 230%, rise of GDP from the current 38% to 46% of the EU average. The targets also include increase in total FDI inflow in the region by 120% and finally, additional 300.000 highly educated young people. With, of course, serious chances of employment. In order to achieve this, manufacturing, trade, investments and education need to be improved and our local governments need to be much more efficient than are presently, and they need to be non-corrupted.
Commencement of Serbia’s negotiations with the EU will make these targets attainable.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General

Entry created by Desiree Pecarz on June 27, 2013
Modified on June 27, 2013