Economy minister steps down, parties, union leaders react

Politicians, trade union representatives and members of the business community have reacted to Economy Minister Saša Radulović's announcement of resignation.

Source: Tanjug

He resigned on Saturday "as he previously announced that he would make such a move in case of early elections because it would mean there is no political will to adopt key reform laws," Tanjug reported.

While some believe that Radulović decided to step down because he lost government support for the reforms he intended to carry out, others are of the opinion that he came to realize that the planned reforms are not realistic, the news agency said.

Leader of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Čedomir Jovanović said that the economy minister's resignation shows that the ruling coalition is not capable to conduct the reforms.

Together for Šumadija and the United Regions of Serbia expressed gratitude to Radulović for resigning, noting that his resignation serves the best interests of defense of the national economy.

President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (SSSS) Ljubisav Orbović underscored that trade unions expected Radulović to be dismissed because his economic policy completely blocked Serbia's economy.

President of the United Branch Trade Unions (UGS) Independence Branislav Čanak believes that it is positive that Radulović resigned because he does not have sufficient knowledge in macroeconomics and public finance which is necessary for economic reforms.

On the other hand, the Serbian Association of Employers (UPS) stated that Radulović's resignation entails an interruption of necessary economic reforms and this would deepen the crisis, reduce the number of active economic subjects and contribute to unemployment increase.

UPS regrets that short-term political interests once more overpowered the efforts to create normal conditions for regular business operations in Serbia without which there can be no economic development or new jobs.

In a statement for Tanjug, UPS President Nebojša Atanacković said that the minister of economy who succeeds Radulović will have to carry out similar reforms because there is no other alternative in the situation the country is currently facing.

Economist Milojko Atanacković believes that reforms Radulović proposed are essentially positive but the incumbent heterogeneous government can hardly carry them out.

He expressed the belief that after the early parliamentary elections, a more efficient government could be set up which would be capable of conducting thorough reforms.

Arsić said that a large number of provisions from the draft laws on bankruptcy, privatization and labor would be adopted within the reforms as was proposed by Radulović as these are very important for the Serbian economy.

Vice President of the Association of Small and Mid-Size Enterprises Milan Knežević stated that Radulović's resignation came as expected because he was appointed for the office as a non-party candidate and he “even dared to conduct real reforms”.

“He remained alone in his intentions because his reform moves threatened to jeopardize the public sector,” Knežević told Tanjug.

He said that the minimum adjustments in the law on labor, bankruptcy and privatization which are necessary for improvement of the business environment, further economic growth and employment fell through before trade union requests and the demands of the public sector.

Commenting on the resignation SNS leader and First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić said on Sunday that "now the entire government has certainly resigned."

Vučić explained that "draft laws on bankruptcy and privatization are currently in parliamentary procedure and that additional consultations are being conducted thereon," adding that a special team would work on the amendments to the Labor Law because an agreement has to be reached with trade unions.

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