PM "doesn't share" enthusiasm over Greek election

BELGRADE -- Aleksandar Vucic has told the Austrian media he believes in "structural changes and painstaking recovery of the economy, rather than the 'no problem' policy."

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

This is how the Serbian prime minister commented on the situation in Greece in the wake of the national election there, and the messages sent by his new Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras.

"I believe in hard work, difficult structural reforms, I believe in changing our habits, our mindset, in hard and painstaking recovery of our economy, and that is why I am dedicated to that job in such a way," Vucic told the ORF broadcaster.

In this sense, he continued, he feels "closer to Germans, Austrians, or the Scandinavian peoples" than he would compare himself to "our brothers and friends in southern Europe."

Vucic added that Serbia was "not by accident" the only country that went into difficult reforms and measures of fiscal consolidation "without any pressure from anyone in the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, or the European Bank."

"That is the road to recovery, because nothing will fall in our lap," he said.

"(Should) I accept to tell people, 'you won't pay electricity bills,' or increase without economic basis public sector salaries by EUR 70 for everyone right now, promise things that cannot be done without earning them first - I see myself as a serious and responsible man, and you won't hear that in Serbia," Vucic told the Austrian broadcaster.

Vucic stressed that he is "aware" that Serbians and the whole region are thrilled "because of what happened in Greece," i.e., over the outcome of the election - but that he personally "does not share" that enthusiasm.

"Most take the line of least resistance, thinking, the 'no problem' policy has arrived. I don't believe in such a policy and wish Tsipras all the success and luck - if he can pull the country out of the crisis with such a policy it will be something genius and then he will be right. Then all of us who think that only great efforts and work can produce results should step aside, " the Serbian prime minister concluded.