Serbia advised against "sacrificing" health and education

BRUSSELS -- European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Henri Malosse has advised Serbia "not sacrifice education and health" on the road toward the EU.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

Malosse also pointed out that the reform of the public sector should be approached with a well-developed plan and along with a social dialogue.

According to him, Serbia must find its own path in reforms of the public sector. This official also noted that reforms cannot be mirrored from one country to another, or technically transferred from Brussels.

Malosse added that Serbia and France have a similar share of employees in the public sector in relation to the population, since some five million work in that sector in France, while in Serbia the figure is "between 700,000 and 800,000."

"I do not know how it is in Serbia, but in my country in the past 50 years, every new government, whether right or left-wing, added a new level of administration - regional, local, departmental. Finally, there is the fact that many people are doing the same thing, the same task. We had to create a body for the coordination of all these people," he told the Serbian edition of EurActiv.

Malosse noted that any overlaps in the public sector should be checked, while cuts should be approached "in a smart way" to avoid a situation like in Greece, where the public media service was first abolished and then re-introduced along with higher costs.

He said that education and health must not be sacrificed, and noted that some eastern and central European countries did so with their education sector as they were joining the EU.

The EESC president also said that this EU institution will monitor the negotiations on Serbia's membership through the Joint Consultative Committee, whose establishment is in progress and will comprise representatives of the EESC and Serbia's civil society.

The European Economic and Social Committee is an advisory institution representing EU's civil society in the EU, including employers' associations, trade unions and other interest groups.

As an advisory body it participates in passing legislation at the EU level primarily related to economic and social policies.