Decision on early elections by end of September - PM

It will be known by the end of September whether early parliamentary elections will he held, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told a news conference on Monday.

Source: B92, Tanjug

He added that he "personally" was in favor of early elections - "but it will depend on the state interest."

"Whether or not there will be elections - I would choose the election option. There's only one problem, when elections are called the whole economy comes to a halt. It is the party interest and my personal feeling to go to elections while the state reasons are against it. We'll see how things will develop, you will know by the end of September," Vucic said.

Vucic, who is the leader of the ruling SNS party, added that "elections are an area with no surprises," and that "things are clear there, as, for example, it is (clear) that Red Star (FC) cannot defeat Real Madrid or Chelsea."

"The ball is not round like people are saying," the Serbian prime minister remarked, and added, "nothing is as predictable as election results - that is the thing in politics that's the easiest to predict."

A summit on the Western Balkans in Vienna on August 27 will be, he stressed, "a great chance for Serbia to present its projects and ideas."

According to him, "Serbia will receive EU's support for the policy of full political and regional stability that it leads, and its complete dedication to economic progress."

Vucic also said this was "important for our country," and added he "believes first (EU membership) negotiations chapters will be opened soon, that we will be able to dedicate ourselves to making progress on the European path even more and even more fiercely."

He said this would enable Serbia to join the EU during the mandate of a future government, and added he was "not ruling out that possibility, although he was not making any promises it was easy to become a member, because that depends not only on all the things we will fulfill and be able to do, but also on the political situation in Europe."

Asked "how the Serbian side will respond" after Kosovo Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci said, ahead of a new round of Kosovo negotiations, that Pristina "will not accept executive powers" for the future Community of Serb Municipalities," Vucic said that Thaci "does not know what executive powers are."

He added that "many have read 'executive powers' as a platitude and can't say when he asks them what it means."

In his statement, Thaci said that "Kosovo will not allow a new Serb Republic (RS) to be created," while Vucic said on Monday that "Serbia will not accept for Kosovo to be a sovereign state like Bosnia-Herzegovina."

"We are going to Brussels to reach agreement. We will not agree to what runs contrary to the interest of the Republic of Serbia and our people in Kosovo and Metohija. We are going to Brussels and are ready to talk and reach agreements," Vucic stressed.

He then added he "does not like the game of shifting blame" - but that "last time, the only time so far, he said Pristina's delegation was there not to sign anything," and added:

"I hope the situation will be different tomorrow."

The prime minister also "urged the public" not to lead a campaign against migrants and refugees coming from the Middle East.

"Yesterday and today Serbia faced a huge number of people who arrived. We are doing this job conscientiously and responsibly. There is not a single reason to lead some campaign against those people," said he.

Vucic added there had been "only two incidents so far between migrants," and asked "how many Serbs get into fights every day."

"We want to help them because we know what it's like to be a refugee. They didn't run away from prosperity but to protect their lives," said Vucic.