PM tells party "changes needed for EU membership"

BELGRADE -- A session of the main board of PM Ivica Dačić's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) was held on Friday in Belgrade at the party's headquarters.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Reporters were allowed to hear Dačić's introductory speech, after which the meeting was closed to the public.

Dačić told his party that "changes are needed for Serbia to join the European Union:"

“We made progress in the previous year, and Serbia is now at the EU's doors, but that is not enough."

He noted that regardless of evident results that this government achieved, changes are still needed.

“We must change the system, but also ourselves,” the prime minister said, underscoring that only a changed Serbia has the future.

Dačić stated that Serbia's most important goals in the coming period are the negotiations with the EU, entry into the bloc, a reduction in unemployment figures and boost to economy.

During its first year in power, this government realized a goal that was strived for over decades - the opening of EU entry talks, Dačić said, voicing confidence that Serbia will be the next state to join the EU.

On top of that, Serbia has never enjoyed a better reputation in the world in the last 20 years, which empowers the country to defend its state and national interests, Dačić said.

Serbia has become a country at which no one points a finger, and a symbol of new values in the region, he added.

Dačić warned that the difficult position of the Serb people in the former Yugoslavia and Serbia's southern province Kosovo-Metohija cannot be an alibi for not working on undoing the Gordian knot, which this government showed.

“I will not try to persuade you that the international community had a benevolent approach to Serbia, as that is not true. The international community had prejudice and took concrete steps to accuse Serbia of all negative things in the Balkans. An effort should be made to change that, as otherwise we would not have the frozen conflict, but rather the frozen present,” the SPS leader concluded.

Previously, the presidency of the SPS unanimously supported Dačić's decision about "the recomposition of the ruling coalition," and "the suggestion that Mlađan Dinkić and the United Regions of Serbia (URS) should no longer be part of the Serbian government."

"That is in the best interest of Serbia, as well as the SNS decision for the government to continue its work on realizing the set goals, especially to create new jobs, investments and kickstart the economy, as well as in the direction of bringing Serbia closer to EU membership, and continuing the fight against crime and corruption," a statement said.

The presidency also unanimously supported "the suggestion of Milutin Mrkonjić and Žarko Obradović that new ministers of transport and education should be elected."

Socialist Party of Serbia deputy leader Slavica Đukić-Dejanović said on Thursday she would remain in office as health minister, but that her fellow Socialists Obradovicć and Mrkonjić would leave the cabinet.

She noted that there were "many positions where their expertise could be valuable."

"Their experience and exceptional results will be useful to the work of new ministers too," Đukić-Dejanović stated.